Savage in Limbo

25 Oct

Firstly, a story.

I used to live with a cop. He was a good man, but he had his personal demons.

One Tuesday morning he came home from a night shift more quiet than usual. I asked him how the shift had been. He’d driven around in a patrol car with his partner. At about 1 am they’d got a pizza. At 3 at a late night servo they’d got Slurpees. At 4 they got a call to a house where a teenage boy had hanged himself.

He’d left a note blaming dad.

‘And what was I doing?’ my flat mate said. ‘Just driving around!’

Then, for a while, he said nothing.

‘If I’d been there,’ he said, ‘I know what I would’ve said: Things change. I know shit all about your dad. Maybe he is the biggest dickhead in the world, I don’t know. But things change. I’m not saying him. I’m saying you.’

For 20 years I’ve told this story to anyone who’ll listen.

I don’t write reviews. I write about what plays make me think and feel.

Savage in Limbo by John Patrick Shanley is about our desire to change. It’s also about our desire to be known. It’s about how these two desires are mutually exclusive.

From this tension, Shanley has created a very funny, very moving play.

And director Stuart Maunder elicits performances of extraordinary energy from his superb cast.

People don’t change. That’s what you hear.

Don’t believe it.

For even if it was true, who of us would be in the position to know it? How much do we actually know of anyone’s life? And who can know what tomorrow holds?

We say people don’t change because it’s simpler. Sadder, but simpler.

The titular character, Denise Savage, played brilliantly by Katherine Beck, has a cracker of a speech about what she calls ‘dead issues’. Everybody’s too damn smart, she complains. No one talks about things, she says, because they already know everything.

But we don’t.

And we need to be reminded that’s a blessing.

Veronica Kaye

Savage in Limbo

TAP Gallery til Nov 3

http://www.tapgallery.org.au/2012/09/savage-in-limbo-by-john-patrick-shanley-oct-16th-nov-3rd/

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