– La Mama Courthouse, 17 th – 27 th March 2016
Redemption, written by multiple award winning writer/performer Anthony Crowley, follows a young priest sent to investigate his retired mentor, a monsignor, who has been accused of a sex crime 30 years ago. The play is performed by Crowley who plays the younger priest – Ben, Green Room award winning Tom Considine as Terry and directed by Petra Kalive, whose most recent work Taxithi at Forty Five Downstairs was well received.
The show opens with an elderly priest in his country parish office (Considine) with two chairs, a table and a cloud of smoke. Enters a younger priest(Crowley), and then begins a rendezvous between them, almost a cat and mouse game, taking the audience along on the journey they have been through over the years, their relationship with each other’s families, professional life, their opinions on God, and their perspectives on His ways. There are a lot of different conflicts the two characters play out – youth vs experience, right vs wrong, faith vs reason, moral vs immoral are some that stood out. The actors skilfully bare their internal conflict and moral dilemma through confrontation with each other, bring alive characters we don’t see and through the course of the interaction surprise, shock and transform.
The performance is well paced, and well balanced with action and conversation. The story takes many dark turns, but has a light vein throughout including a footy metaphor. The cleverly designed simplistic set aids the action beautifully. A special mention must be made of the smoke that seems to be a third character – forming a cloud of haze which slowly descends, clears and re-appears. Crowley quotes his mentor in his writer’s note, “Don’t be scared to leave the audience hanging for a while.” They weren’t scared at all.
I was interested, as someone from a non-Christian background, who went to a Catholic school and imbibed some of its values which I still carry with me – in seeing how this piece would impact me. Would it be a confronting internal dialogue on moral dilemma or an analysis of how a current issue is presented as a work of art. Would my response be emotional or rational? It was a mixed response, tending towards rational for me. It is a joy to witness a performance that offers such possibilities and this is the kind of show that one might get more of by watching a second time.
More about the show can be found here.