Reflective yet insular – the original play Pigman’s Lament indulges in intellectualism. Some of the audience will relate to the personal story and others might feel alienated by the esoteric references.
Playwright and actor Raoul Craemer takes the audience through reality and hallucination, past and present, Germany and Australia. The point? Not clear. Perhaps a journey towards resolution of both the protagonist’s doubts and satisfaction about career, life and love. Regardless, the play is intriguing enough to stay engaged, but not emotionally moving as one might expect given the subject matter.
The plot involves quasi-autobiographical moments of Craemer’s past life interwoven with the present timeline of the actor preparing for this very show. From there, Craemer’s multicultural creative spirit plays multiple characters over multiple eras: delving into his strict German grandfather’s perceived opinion of his grandson. Craemar is masterful in the quick transitions and embodies the grandfather’s presence with a stentorian voice.
The original script is perhaps a bit long and could be tightened up in the mid section. Obviously a lot of work has already gone into the production, with director Paulo Castro contributing valuable dynamics. Castro’s direction also adds a level of interest to a one-man-on-stage situation. Craemer steps on every square centimetre, leaping and striding and shuffling around the tiny stage.
Christiane Nowak’s concentrated set design helps define scenes and every prop down to every sock and boot is there for a reason. Lighting design by Gillian Schwab heightens the tense scenes. The original sound-scape by Lara Soulio and Sianna Lee early in the play is overpowering but later eases back and builds the ominous vibe in darker moments.
Is there a resolution to the darkness? Sort of. But too many questions are unanswered. Maybe that is the point. In our real lives, there is always unfinished business, untold secrets, unsatisfied dreams.
If you like small and introspective pieces that are personal and original, then Pigman’s Lament is spot on.
The Street presents
Director Paulo Castro
Venue: The Street Theatre | 15 Childers St, Canberra City West
Dates: 24 June – 3 July 2016
Tickets: $30 - $39
Bookings: 6247 1223 | www.thestreet.org.au