Intimate examination of a crack in a relationship that runs along the very line that should hold it together.
After a summer of break ups and heart ache, a man and a woman meet and their life together works very well. Two years pass, and he realises – she’s The One. So, gently at first, he proposes to her. She laughs, and keeps making plans for dinner. Taking a firmer approach, he books a flash restaurant, finds a ring and briefs the waiters... before going down on one knee... and she says ... no. She says, “do you really know what marriage means? Do you feel that I should become your property? Do you understand the oppression of women through history and around the world today?” She says, “Is this because your little brother, the golden child, is getting married and you feel your life slipping by and you have something to prove to your parents?”
Combining silly little love songs, gently rhythmic spells of lyrical text presented as spoken word declamations to the accompaniment of sensual guitar and languid body movement, and the blunt broken dialogue of everyday life together in coupledom, director Jeffrey Jay Fowler’s script encompasses the heart and soul and domestic routines of his nameless characters. Mark Storen plays the lovestruck man, trying to do the Right Thing and baffled in his expression of love, who ends up weaponising soppy ditties to woo his lover to his way of seeing the world. Georgia King is the woman, no less in love, who sees more to social relationship conventions than a big party, spectacular dress and a lifetime of unrealistic expectations. Both actors impress with their delivery of the text heavy monologues, creating word images of key moments and seasons in their lives, dense with polysyllabic runs of descriptive fancy, to then abruptly yet naturally shift to the mundanity of daily routines.
The portrayal of the relationship is nearly uncomfortably intimate, not so much with implied sexual details as with the constant, strong gazes between the two performers as their monologues play out. The specific intimacy presented, especially in the quiet times that come between them, with his injured pride and her frustrated ideals, echo awkward moments in all relationships, the moments alone in the kitchen away from any spectators. Most people have their points of difference from their nearest and dearest, the unexpected blind spots where values are directly at odds with each other, whether it be sporting interests, religious disagreements, environmental values, or social preferences. But the effect when that point in this close knit pair turns out to be the role of marriage in their lives together, is devastating, playing out in various destructive ways. In the end, the most damage is wrought when the details of planning a wedding come into play, King’s breathtaking recitation of all the elements required to be organised for a proper “big wedding” being gutwrenchingly familiar to anyone who has ever been, or even met, an anxious bride-to-be.
With beautiful wordplay, startling lurches sideways into base bodily functions, humour, intense honesty into the interplay of roles in a relationship, soothing strings accompanying dreamy monologues and sweet singing voices, The One entertains as it holds a mirror to undiscussed parts of our lives. A strong start to the Subiaco Theatre Festival, The One promises good things for the 2017 season.
Perth Theatre Trust and Whiskey & Boots present
by Jeffrey Jay Fowler
Director Jeffrey Jay Fowler
Venue: Subiaco Arts Centre, Subiaco WA
Dates: 7 – 10 June 2017
Part of the Subiaco Theatre Festival 2017