War Mother

State Theatre Company. Dunstan Playhouse. 31 May 2012

This production directed by Catherine Fitzgerald is actually a compilation of 3 monologues and 3 songs. Two of the monologues, “A Mother” by Franca Rame and Dario Fo, and “Switch” by Marjolijn Van Heemstra, have been interwoven at crucial moments to create a new text which has a feeling of parallel experiences between the two central characters; both are victims of war; and both are remotely absent from the other, separated in time and space. A third text by Harold Pinter called “Press Conference” has been pre-recorded by actor Stephen Sheehan and serves to highlight the general situation faced by these two characters, topping and tailing the show as a lovely set of bookends to the production.

Actresses, Eileen Darley and Anni Lindner bring real gravity to their characters and ram home the message in each of the monologues. A production which was aimed at schools, its success was evident by the solid question time which followed with director Catherine Fitzgerald and the two actresses – it was clear that the students had engaged with the work, their contributions were lively and thoughtful.

This was an exciting and very thought provoking piece of theatre, which sadly didn’t spend long on the stage. Fitzgerald has made a very successful intervention into these works, and it is excellent to know that students are being challenged and questioned by this kind of theatre.

Paul Rodda.

When: 30 May to 2 Jun
Where: Space Theatre