Sunday, August 10, 2014

Book of Days

I managed to catch the last performance "Book of Days" by Lanford Wilson at the New Theatre Sydney, yesterday. This reminded me of "To Kill a Mockingbird: both are studies of small town USA and have literary pretensions. Georgia Hopkins' set design was minimalist, in a Brechtian way, with just a small tree in the middle of the stage (which dropped some leaves) and the floor marked as white tiles. The character "Ruth" is a bookkeeper at the local cheese factory and acting as Saint Joan in a local production of George Bernard Shaw’s play. Ruth starts to loose herself in the role and then is persecuted in reality after accusing someone at the factory of the murder of the owner of the factory.

The contrivance of a play within a play is difficult to do well. In this case the actors do their best, but the playwright lets them down. Perhaps the play would have been better moved to modern day Sydney. The themes of religious intolerance, political corruption and murder-for-
profit would be familiar to Sydney residents from the local newspaper.

ps: One significant development at New Theatre are new glass doors to the street. This makes the foyer much cosier and blocks traffic noise. This makes for a great place to meet for a drink before, or after a play.

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