TransparencyLeft – Glenn Hazeldine and Celia Ireland. Cover – Amy Mathews and Glenn Hazeldine. Photos – Helen White

is a powerful play that asks more difficult questions than it answers which is precisely the point. Written by Suzie Miller and directed by Tim Jones, the ensemble piece demands much of its audience, prodding it and provoking it with difficult questions about honesty, truth, forgiveness, redemption and, of course, transparency. The play challenges us to consider what we would do if we found our loved one had a terrible secret. And would the betrayal be found in the act, which happened in the deep, dark past, or would it be the dishonesty, the failure to disclose? Can any of us say with any certainty that we fully know another person?

Transparency tells the story of Simon (Glenn Hazeldine) who is trying to lead a decent and honest life while being forced, through his actions as a child, to live under an assumed identity. When a young child goes missing, the community starts to ask questions and Simon’s secret life is threatened, forcing him to confront his past and his wife’s growing bewilderment.

Hazeldine’s Simon is complex and the duality of his nature, at times tender, at times violent underpins the maddening chaos of trying to live with lies. His strength is his ability to extract sympathy even when the horror and brutality of his crime is revealed. Amy Mathews plays Jessica, Simon’s wife, and the performance is beautifully measured. She is vulnerable because she is so sure of her world. Her optimism and faith ensure a devastating impact when everything starts to unravel. Ed Wightman as Lachlan and Anna Lise Phillips as Camille play Simon and Jessica’s married friends. The difficulties in their marriage create the perfect balance for questions about truth and honesty, which mirror the awful dilemmas facing their friends. Phillips and Wightman are outstanding in their portrayal of two people desperately trying to ignore the unhappiness all around them. Camille’s growing fear that she will never love her child the way her husband wants her to, is achingly rendered. Celia Ireland’s character Andy is Simon’s psychologist and the only wrong note. Not specifically Ireland’s performance but in the credibility in the relationship as written.

The script for Transparency won the 2008 Kit Denton Fellowship for writing with courage. It is, indeed, brave writing that deals with a difficult subject and raises uncomfortable questions about humanity, what we are capable of, the cost of honesty and whether forgiveness is only possible in the context of our own sins. Fresh, bold, passionate theatre is something this country can be proud of and here it is in spades.

Seymour Centre and Riverside Productions present
by Suzie Miller

Directed by Timothy Jones

Venue: York Theatre | Seymour Centre
Dates: 1 – 17 September, 2011
Times: Tue 6.30pm; Wed-Fri 8pm; Sat 3 8pm, Sat 10 & 17 2pm & 8pm
Duration: 90mins, no interval
Tickets: $47– $40
Bookings: (02) 9351 7940

Transparency is also showing at Riverside Theatres from 20–24 September. Further information»

Most read Sydney reviews

After twenty-one years with the Sydney Theatre Company, the Wharf Review has jumped ship, so to...

Pinchgut’s production of Platée is a banquet for the senses. It is also a milestone in its...

Black Brass is a play, personal and political, told through music and song that spans...

Inspired by the seminal rock album of the same name by seven-time Grammy Award winner Alanis...

The audience was lively with anticipation as they waited for the curtain to lift at Sydney Opera...