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Review – at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre
“The Silence that is Golden”
by Film Editor for remotegoat on 30/10/07
This is play based on an Ingmar Bergman film, about two sisters who have been traveling together, and have stopped at hotel due to one who is seriously ill. Ester is the older, more intellectual sister, whose fear of death clouds her relationship with her younger, more sensual sister, whom Ester is physically attracted. In the original film, a young boy, who it is not clear which sister is the natural mother, accompanies them. However this theatre interpretation replaces the boy with a daughter, depicted with such innocence by Lucy Joannides. The director, Dumle Kogbara, has substituted all the male roles in the film, with female characters, which modern twist to the study of female relationships jealousy, intimacy, loneliness and obsessive desire.
At first the performances seem ridged, but as it progressed you realise that this is the point. This is a story about family, secrets and relations that are trough with difficulties. These two sisters who it seems used to be close, are not able to communicate and understand one another anymore. The first few minutes, there are not words spoken. In fact there is very sparse dialogue throughout the whole play, which can be attributed to its origins as a film. Instead there is silence. This story is not so much about what is said, but what is not spoken. Those awkward silences, that you think should not be the case amongst people that know each other. Further they are unable to express their emotions to each other, despite craving for emotional warmth, they only display affection to the young girl.
These moments were well played and I liked how many questions to ask and it does not provide the easy answers. being from a family of all girls, this retelling allowed me to relate much stronger to the characters. However its message does not only apply to female relationships. Sometimes the silence, although oppressive, does allow one to protect inner desires, which is better to accept, that they will never be realized. But again that is just my personal take on it. I am sure others in the audience will read it differently. As it states beautifully in the program “please take or discard what you want from the silence”