Noah Haidle's short play is a frequently very moving study in memory
and regret that is also a technical experiment that playwright,
director and actors in this fringe production skilfully manoeuvre their
lonely old man is
haunted by memories of the losses in his life, particularly his
long-dead wife and daughter. Flashbacks take us to these remembered
pains, three actors playing the man at ages 28, 58 and 88, and a single
actress playing the women in each frame: wife, daughter and carer.
older men enter the scenes that are memories to them, reliving the
experience and trying in vain to change things.
brilliant inspiration is not to take us back to the moments of loss,
but to the moments of greatest happiness preceding each loss, far more
unbearable to remember and painful for us to watch.
so we see the
couple in their twenties, their marriage not quite steady yet, on the
night they finally break through and connect, and go off to conceive
their daughter; and the middle-aged widower on the night his daughter
pushes him out on a blind date that actually turns out promising but
then takes that occasion to leave home herself.
each case the
older men - and we, who have been told what happened next - know that
tragedy awaits just a little further down the line.
Lenson juggles the reality levels and shifts in tone with elegant ease,
and Christopher Harper (age 28), Nicholas Gecks (58) and especially
Richard Evans as the old man and Lisa Caruccio Came as the three women
draw us fully into their characters and stories.
its three time
frames and counterpointed personalities for the same man, Saturn
Returns may remind you of Krapp’s Last Tape, but of course Haidle is
far more sentimental than Beckett would ever allow himself to be - and
perhaps far more accessible as a result.
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- Saturn Returns - Finborough 2010