theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…
Kicking off in St Andrews before embarking on tour to venues in Scotland and England, Stellar Quines’ latest offering is The Unconquered, an hour-and-a-half piece about the futility of revolution. The themes and execution of the play evoke memories of Theatre Modo’s Ubu, or in some ways, the Traverse’s Petrol Jesus Nightmare #5 from last summer.
When revolution disrupts the lives of a rather provincial nuclear family, the parents (Jane Guernier and Kevin McMonagle) bemoan the impending loss of their status and possessions while their punky, spunky daughter (Pauline Turner) laments how, despite her belief in and excitement about the ideas of the revolutionaries, she was unable to take part. The nation’s right to self-determination is undercut by meddling outsiders and their armed forces, and a soldier from the liberating army crashes into the bombed-out home. As the family starts a slow plod toward starvation, the daughter berates her parents’ lack of action, and their cowardice in the face of their oppressors. They surrender, and she is assaulted by the soldier.
The Unconquered is the story of her defiance and the struggle both she and her mother fight to avoid their increasing victimization by the men and society around them. Ultimately, the girl has her victory – but at a disastrous cost.
There are obvious political overtones to this piece, and Betts’ language is so poetic, with its repetitions of words and phrases, that the scenes play out on a plane of hyper-reality. The ideas are deceptively simple, put together in a sort of crystallized structure where the final product has a complexity far greater than the sum of its parts. The elements of the production come together nicely, and where there is real victory here is in the marriage of Betts’ dialogue with designer Keith McIntyre’s black-ink-outline set and cut-out props. Both these create a lens whereby The Unconquered can be viewed from a direct, child-like perspective. This is a world of blacks and whites, and rights and wrongs – and although many of the conflicts are framed in uncertainty, it is a world of very few (if any) shades of grey.
It is monumentally gratifying to see a work which does not preach to its audience, which holds up a swatch of situations and propositions, and unapologetically explores each to the limits of their potential.
The piece is unflinchingly clinical, with only one or two exceptions, and while it would have been easier to sympathize with the characters if they had shown a bit more tenderness and humanity toward one another, nothing in the production makes me think the company desired for their audiences to view the characters as people rather than tropes. Even the character designations – GIRL, MOTHER, FATHER, and SOLDIER – limit the personal sense an audience member could gain from each of them.
Bett’s work is both dry and humorous, and the ideas explored by the company are engaging and important ones. The Unconquered does not exactly scale new heights of creative expression, but it does tread some familiar ground in a blunt, powerful fashion. Ultimately, it is what it is: incisive, and refreshing in the manner of a quick slap of cold water – and in this its characters and ideas are as unapologetic as one might expect.
Rachel Lynn Brody © 2007
Originally published on R&V on 18-02-07
Theatre, Film and TV.
Compalling Stories of Russian History
The Photography Blog
Reclaiming my inner badass at 50
"Tell me a fact, and I'll learn. Tell me a truth, and I'll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever." - Steve Sabol, NFL Films
The Nazis assigned him a number but I wanted the world to know his name.
Archaeology News, Interesting Facts and More
Being a web log for the observations of actor, author, cartoonist, comedian, critic, director, humorist, journalist, master of ceremonies, performance artist, playwright, producer, publicist, public speaker, songwriter, and variety booker Trav S.D.
LOIS BRYAN Photography and Digital Art
A Green future for the Isle of Wight
a world travel photo blog by Jackie Hadel
Music means something
Literatura y consejos.
A Backward Look Forward
Freelance Film Critic
Sharing my paintings
Various Illustrations both previous and ongoing.
Making stuff and pootling in the garden
it's all about the story, possums...
drunk on the arts
Loving yourself & Living with Scleroderma!
Walking blogger exploring London's hidden gems, sights and history!
A journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle
"The only real elegance is in the mind; if you've got that, the rest really comes from it." Diana Vreeland
by Itamar Dias
National Trust news, events and insight
Art, Literature, Poetry, Politics and a little History
Culture Blogger | Theatre Lover | Follow my Journalism journey | BA Journalism Grad. 2016 @SunderlandUni | Views are my own
Ideas on writing and baking
Artisan Jewelry | Accessories | Vintage | Digital Products | Handicrafts
Things from the past and present which may some some relevance in our future
Our space has a real effect on our emotions. Simply change your room arrangements to change your mood. Start to observe your surroundings to feel calm, relaxed and Happy.
the stories behind the pictures, and vice versa
Bespoke Handcrafted Woodwork & Artwork
A collection of fragments more than the sum of its shards
art & illustration
Exploring the world of Paleontology through new scientific articles, photos, and art
Promoting a Peaceful Political Revolution