Appropriate in these times was the choice of The War Reporter. For this we must thank the Goethe Institut who together with the group 'Floating Space' presented the production.
We choose the word 'appropriate' as reflecting the scenario in our country today with emotional tensions unleashed by the repercussions of the war and the current situation. Despite the fact that the play was originally written and produced in a German context it spoke vividly to us.
Let us analyse the theme of this powerful drama whether here or anywhere else, where society is divided into two segments- the 'haves' and the 'have-nots'. They remain isolated from each other and insulated within themselves.
The play brought this out very starkly and powerfully. One segment living in its own safe cocoon behind the hole in the garden hedge, as the drama portrays, having their wine and sandwiches, while the others beyond thirst even for water. One lot smug in their world with their quarrels, and ambitions, their infidelities, while the others face hunger, fear and experience real grief.
But then this has been, is and will always be. So whether Germany or our lovely island the play was indeed relevant. The War Reporter gave us much to ponder about and reflect upon. No one who sat through the performance could sit back and say the evening was enjoyable (a direct contrast to the usual superficial presentations on offer). For the style of presentation we must compliment the two young directors Ruhanie Perera and Jake Oorloff. They quietly developed the setting in the opening sequences and then with startling impact and drama shattered the social smugness with the actual entrance of the war reporter.
The contrast was further reflected in the costumes of the actors. A sophisticated society with pearls, fashionable clothes and footwear and the opposite in rags streaked in gunpowder and grime. It highlighted the discomfiture of the privileged and cut through their insecurity, when reality was thrust upon them.
The earlier rambling conversations were abruptly interrupted by the war reporter with news of the war behind the garden hedge. The directors made of this a dramatic effect. Each player portrayed his or her role impeccably. Their diction was clear, movements precise, voices and facial expression well controlled.
It would be difficult to pick out one player as the cast was balanced and cohesive.
Staging in the Goethe Institut was a clever use of space bringing the audience close to the characters. Background and minimal sound highlighted the impact of the play. The blackouts to break a scene were most effective. The War Reporter speaks to us in our time.
Floating Space aims to perform in unusual and flexible settings creating a shared experience. These objectives were achieved. The evening was interesting and intellectually stimulating and definitely a shared experience.