Left – Lucy Bell and Simon Gleeson. Photo – Brett Boardman
Nine months gestation and a baby girl is delivered. For four years, she is the light and love of her parents, and then she goes missing. For nine months.
A nine month gestation of guilt and worry and mystification, then the daughter. Laura, is delivered back to the frantic parents.
This is the premise of Splinter, Hilary Bell’s suspenseful intriguer brought simply but searingly to life in this spare but utterly compelling production by Griffin Theatre Company under the direction of Lee Lewis.
The play begins with a happy ending, the reclamation of a child, the reunification of a family.
But her prolonged absence has produced an abscess of doubt, the anxiety of her disappearance has not been assuaged by her reappearance, triggering a revisiting of the whiff of baby swap that can inveigle the post natal imagination.
Is the returned child really Laura? Or a changeling? What is the where, who, and how of the previous nine months? These are the thoughts that play out in the minds of the parents, most specifically the father, the splinter that has entered his psyche and is difficult to dispel.
Bell’s writing sparks with elevated realism and the current of the story is grounded in the details of a relationship charged by an unusual incident that leads to radical truth.
The couple, steadfast spouses splintered by doubt rendering phenomena are splendidly played by Lucy Bell and Simon Gleeson. Both are convincing as seemingly simple people who grow complex and significant when their conventional ways are pitted against an alienating and anarchic event.
Splinter is a story wired to hum with implication, and deliver a jolt to the condition of attachment.
Creating further conduits for delivering the power of this play is production designer, Tobhiyah Stone Feller, lighting designer, Benjamin Brockman, sound designer Alyx Dennison and video designer, Mic Gruchy.
Griffin Theatre Company presents
by Hilary Bell
Director Lee Lewis
Venue: SBW Stables Theatre | 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross NSW
Dates: 6 September – 12 October 2019
Tickets: $38 – $62