Having seen and thoroughly enjoyed Eldorado, both plays were written by Marius Von Mayenburg and directed by Benedict Andrews, I am more than just a little disappointed by this production.
According to the director’s statement, which I found quite convoluted, Moving Target purports to be about many things. For instance; ‘transformation’ of people, ‘construction and erasure’, ‘absence and presence’, ‘anarchy’ and ‘alterity’. Having evolved from this seeming grab-bag of ideas is, I believe, partially the reason why the attempted social commentary on community within Moving Target sits clumsily on top of the theatre games presented here. In that respect I believe it to be over intellectualized. The essential narrative premise involves a ‘society where parents have become terrified of their children’ and participate in what is ‘possibly…a collective therapy session’. Possibly. During this possible session the adults repetitively play the children’s game of hide and seek. Repetitively. There is a little more plot than that but frankly I really lost interest early on as there is just so much apparent padding.
The six performers are all well known and regarded, but this production does their skills no justice.
On the positive side, the lighting (Paul Jackson) and set design (Robert Cousins) are effective and exciting. The set resembles a community based health centre in a financially poor suburb; stark, utilitarian and over used. The lighting is inventive and gave me something to focus on while waiting for the play to end.
This production never loses the feeling of simply being a series of theatre games and in that sense it is self-indulgent to present it as a play. The dialogue is often clumsy, the lines about the child’s third eye being blind once you shoot her in the forehead for instance, and I don’t know if this is the translation or the writer’s intention.
I found this to be a difficult production to sit through as I found it very tedious. It shows none of the skill, intelligence and wit on display in Eldorado.
Towards the end of this one hour and fifty minute production a line similar to ‘I can’t stand it any more’ is spoken, repeatedly. It is easy to imagine this line echoing through the minds of the Moving Target audience, as it certainly echoed through mine.
Please note that this is a review of a Preview performance.
Malthouse Theatre presents
by Marius Von Mayenburg | Translator Maja Zade
Venue: Beckett Theatre
Dates: March 12 - 29