The Inhabited Man is a play about the “heady brew” of memories, struggles and turmoils which inhabit most men.
The Inhabited Man delineates the story of Leo, a security guard and war veteran who is haunted by his experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam war. Co-directors Richard Murphet and Leisa Shelton, aptly explain that The Inhabited Man delineates how “[l]ove can explode in our faces; fatherhood is at the mercy of love withheld; and war, as we are experiencing,undergoes massive generational change, so that a warrior in one age has no skills for a battle in another”.
The complicated themes in The Inhabited Man are expounded through similarly complex staging. The audience’s attention is bifurcated between Leo and an unknown couple in “cabin seven” who Leo has under surveillance. As the play unravels, and as Leo watches the couple, the audience is presented with the real and imagined occurrences at cabin seven. The pains of Leo’s past are revealed through his one-sided dialogues with his wife Ida, and his correspondences with his estranged son, Judd. Cabin seven is a large box to the right of the stage which rotates as Leo’s perception shifts between real and imagined, past and present, amplifying the disorientation and distortion in Leo’s mind. Leo’s present reality is in constant collision with his past. Confronted by the continual intrusion of paranoia, panic and horror, Leo is a man who can trust nothing.
Richard Murphet’s meticulously composed script is elegantly delivered by Merfyn Owen who graphically incites the vulgarity, death, and brutality of war. The Rear Window Ensemble’s production of The Inhabited Man is a multi-dimensional feat which daringly employs an intoxicating collision of intense audio and layered visual text. The result is a production which not only reinforces the story-telling reach of Murphet’s script, but also intensifies the theatre experience for audiences.
Murphet’s script, lures and repels the audience with its embedded narratives and evocative imagery, actively surrounding the audience with the horrific and grotesque thoughts which inhabit Leo’s mind. Jethro Woodward’s musical compositions play a pivotal role in The Inhabited Man, providing depth and emotional sophistication to the character of Leo. The first song in which Owen sings “tensions grow in me like flowers in the jungle” was particularly moving and resonant.
The Inhabited Man is a riveting and thought-propelling play about a man snared in the horrific embrace of a war which never ends.
FULL TILT at the Arts Centre presents Rear Windows Ensemble in
THE INHABITED MAN
by Richard Murphet
Venue: Space 28, Victorian College of the Arts Drama
Season: Wednesday 16 July to Saturday 26 July
Time: Wednesday to Friday 7:30pm, Saturday 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Running time: 90 minutes, no interval
Tickets: Full $28, Conc/under 26 $23, Student Rush $15, Groups 6+ & Preview $20
Bookings: www.theartscentre.com.au or 1300 136 166 or Ticketmaster outlets or the Arts Centre Box Office