The Call | Griffin Theatre

The Call | Griffin TheatreGary (Josh McConville) is a young man in a small country town whose bored existence is without opportunity and reason. Cornelius spends a lot of time establishing Gary’s very ordinary life, his desires, friendships and his relationship. Denise (Sarah Becker), Gary’s girlfriend had a dream once…to travel and get out of this stagnant town, but her relationship with Gary and ensuing pregnancy comprehensively derail that plan. Gary and his mates indulge in small time risk taking in an attempt to make meaning of their desultory lives. They steal a car, jump off the town bridge into the river below, drift into taking heroin.

Cornelius doesn’t give a thing away. The death of Aldo (Hazem Shammas) from a senseless overdose and Gary’s realization that his friendship with Chunk (Chris Ryan) is meaningless, heralds a shift in Gary and suddenly the audience recognizes this story. We are confronted with a fuller picture: a young man previously bored and uninspired, rolling out a prayer mat, infused with the idealism and fervor of a Muslim convert. Gary’s blue Bond’s T-shirt suddenly resonates. Isn’t that the same kind of t-shirt David Hicks was wearing in that blurry photo that saturated our media for years? Cornelius’ intent becomes clear. The Call is revealed as an exploration of the environment that could produce a David Hicks rather than an exploration of the individual psychology of a man drawn to radical Islam.
Patricia Cornelius, co-founder of the Melbourne Workers Theatre, also wrote Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? and her politics of community, environment and the individual’s place in it contain more than a hint of Marx. The script is deft and humorous, the language both sparse and poetic and, coupled with Lee Lewis’ confident direction provide a solid platform for the four young actors to take this piece into the realm of exceptional. That’s not to say it is flawless. The set design is functional but uninspiring and Cornelius’ script is short - short in length and falls short emotionally. Gary’s conversion, whilst coherent, seems to occur magically, overnight and without forshadowing. At just on 1 hour and 20 minutes, the piece covers a lot of ground-maybe a little too much. Another half hour to fully resolve the weighty themes it unpacks would bring this unpolished gem to a dazzling brilliance.

Griffin Theatre Company presents
The Call
By Patricia Cornelius

Director Lee Lewis

Venue: SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross NSW 2011
Dates: 6 May – 6 June
Bookings: 02 8002 4772 |

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