April 13, 2012

Wednesday To Come

I first saw Wednesday to Come 15 years ago and was so moved by the story that I jumped at the chance to see it again. It is a thought-provoking, well-written play steeped in kiwi history; evoking a feeling of the depression and the events surrounding it. The play is based around four generations of women living in 1930s hardship, in one house, dealing with the death of the youngest generation's father.

The set of the Hutt Repertory production was fantastic. The dedication to detail and way the actors used the stage made it feel like there was depth, an entire house behind the scenes. Cupboards opened, fires were stoked, taps ran with real water!

Jean D Howell-Maher's Granna was a bit of light relief; instead of a woman loosing her marbles, she played an elderly woman growing old disgracefully. Iris, played by Nicole Smith-Williams, was a angry, hard woman with a beautiful singing voice. It is a shame the script did not call for her to sing more. I was confused at first as to who was the mother of Cliff and Jeannie because the grandmother looked young comparative to her character's presumed age. There was a moment when Jeannie spoke directly to her mother and both Iris and Mary were in her line of sight. However, the relationships became more evident as the play proceeded.

The actors were committed to their roles, holding character when they weren't speaking, murmuring to each other "I love you" and conveying real intimacy by touch, a covered hand, a kiss on the cheek. I laughed when Jean mouthed the words as she wrote them in Granna's little notebook.

The play felt very real. Tracks played in the background gave the marchers outside a voice, Cliff a talent with the mouth organ. Wednesday to Come could be played on a stark stage and have the same power. However, the sounds and set of the Hutt Repertory production gave it a sense of realism which made it that much more moving.

This production cast Cliff as a rather sullen young man, understandable given the circumstances of the play and his family's losses. Jeannie, on the other hand, was played as young and perhaps a little too sunny at times. Mary, the grandmother, seemed very efficient, holding the family together, and a bit matter of fact.

Ted seemed like a typical bloke of the time, stand-offish, perhaps more lucky in his circumstances than his brother the deceased Jack. It was unfortunate that Iris and Ted lacked chemistry apart from a mutual feeling of blame about Jack's death. This Iris is a little too wrapped up in her own emotions to share anything of herself with others.

From memory there are elements missing from the script, including circumstances surrounding Jack's death, and repetition of the days of the week, which gives the play its name.

Wednesday to Come may not be everyone's cup of tea due to it's heavy subject matter, it is however, very well played and I think everyone should see it.

Venue: 108 Theatre, 108 Oxford Terrace
Price: $20, concession $18
Dates: 11-21 April (no performance 16 April)
To book go here

1 comment:

  1. There is NO performance on Monday 16 April, there is a performance on Wednesday 18 April.