Writer: Gina Schien
Director: Goldele Rayment
Reviewer: Tom Ralphs
A man known as The Gent returns from the Georgian era to help Morgan Stern, an Australian schizophrenic. Morgan is never seen. His voice, and the voices he hears, are replayed by The Gent. As The Gent’s own background emerges, you start to wonder whether the play is really set 221 years after his death, or if he just thinks it is. It could be a ground-breaking exploration of mental illness, but falls victim to the combination of a plot that is too large, and a cast that is too small, to deliver the writers ambitions.
The reason why The Gent believes he has been brought back to a different continent and a different century is unexplained, but he doesn’t seem to have a major problem with this. Instead, he is initially surprised and then determined to get to the root of Morgan’s problems. This makes it hard to buy into either the character or the scenario.
As we don’t see Morgan, it’s also impossible to identify with him, assuming he even exists. When the parallels between Morgan’s story and the story of The Gent’s daughter are revealed, we’re presumably meant to think The Gent has been called back so that he can understand his own past, but, as he is not a schizophrenic, Morgan cannot simply be an invention of his imagination. The questions of why now and why couldn’t he have come back sooner are never convincingly answered.
Trying to follow all of the voices, delivered by a single actor, requires a feat of effort and concentration that isn’t rewarded, and, at 75 minutes, this is too long for a one man show and too stripped back to be a representation of the world experienced by a schizophrenic, whether or not the schizophrenic is Morgan or The Gent.
Runs until 28 August 2017 | Image: Contributed