Writers: Gwyneth Glyn &Judith Roberts, with help from the cast
Director: Judith Roberts
What soldiers go through during a war has been well-documented – the pain, the trauma, the loss. Those who return home are treated as heroes for their service and restored to civilian life. Triptych, the powerful three-part performance from De Oscuro, turns this idea of a happy ending completely on its head, demonstrating how post-war life can be just as damaging as the war itself. On their own, the three sections – video installation, stage play and dance piece – of this innovative project work perfectly well, but a new layer of meaning is added when those components come together.
Triptych I is simply truth. Like a videotape confessional, clips are show of veterans and their loved ones talking about their lives to the camera, the accounts loaded with emotional intensity. The installation is often distressing to watch, but always devastatingly matter-of-fact.
Triptych II gives these stories a fictional narrative, focusing on a family’s inability to deal with the effects of war. Ninety minutes is perhaps more than is needed to tell this story, but the piece is carried through by some excellent performances. In particular, Rhys Parry Jones (as the uncontrollably angry patriarch) and Rebecca Harries (as his long-suffering wife) are tremendous.
The evening finishes with Triptych III, a half-hour dance performance expressing the pain and struggle soldiers go through while at war. Gwyn Emberton and Albert Garcia hold the space beautifully, their movements graceful but never entirely in sync (symbolic of war itself, arguably). The piece ends with the two men slowly exiting the stage, glancing at the audience on their way out. Out of sight, out of mind.
Triptych is an extremely important piece of theatre, now more than ever. At a time when the need for such brave men and women has increased, taking a step back to see the world through their eyes is a humbling, heartbreaking experience.
Runs until Saturday 11th July 2015.