Mutation Theatre's These are the Isolate garnered a lot of attention after premiering in last year's Fringe. There is significant talent evident here and the playwright, Katy Warner, is one to 'keep an ear on.' This play aims high in its portrayal of a man (Ed, played by co-creator Tim Wotherspoon) whose psyche fragments following the breakdown of his marriage. Ed has been repressing grief, repressing awareness, to the point of inevitable fragmentation if he is ever to fully understand what has happened to him. As horror is slowly illuminated in Ed's consciousness we understand that his wife has become part of him, the voice he is forced to finally listen to.
This play suffers from the weight of its own ambition. It is dealing with such major issues that, ultimately, it all becomes too much. It is not easy on the audience, this production. The set is minimal and the space mostly in blackness. We are to understand that the blackness is the protagonist's unconscious. The death of romanticism, the death of a relationship, of a marriage, is more than enough. The play's trajectory could easily have dealt with these things without overburdening itself with self mutilation, the death of a child and a suicide as well. In going to such extremes the play alienates its audience; it takes us to another realm of tragedy so that we are watching it but cannot especially engage with it. Each of those things demand its own weight, its own story, and colectively they seem almost crammed into the play. Too much tragedy doesn't easily fit into this sort of time or space; comprising as they do the background to Ed's unhinging. Although it makes the best and bravest of attempts, the play isn't quite up to its own story.
The scenes where Ed and his wife are to-ing and fro-ing with what did or didn't happen, work well and again, the destruction of a marriage can be sufficient for a man to lose his mind. Tim Wotherspoon is the stronger performer here, manifesting of raw emotion in language that is fresh and believable. There is no doubt that this team will continue to impress.
Mutation Theatre presents
These are the Isolate
Written by Katy Warner
Devised and Performed by Katy Warner and Tim Wotherspoon
Venue: Theatre Works, 14 Acland St, St Kilda
Date: 16 Mar 2011 - 27 Mar 2011
Time: 8:00pm Tue to Sat / 5:00pm Sun
Preview: 8:00pm Wed 16 Mar
Price: $25 full / $15 conc / $10 preview, Tuesday & group 10+ (plus booking fee)
Bookings: www.theatreworks.org.au | 9534 3388