My reaction to this play proves the power of theatre to move one, climb into your head, shake out your stuff and freak you out completely. And it’s a reminder that that’s what theatre should do. This production has left me shattered and confused, and I know I am going to struggle to get it out of my mind.
It’s Blackbird, written by the aptly named David Harrower, directed by Bo Petersen and performed by Warrick Grier and Deborah Vieyra, with teeny cameo by Rebekah Nathan (or Lucy Giffard on other nights). Blackbird is on at The Intimate Theatre until the 2nd of October.
I think it’s the kind of play where the less you know about it, the more powerful it is, so I’m not going to say anything about the story. I am going to say that Warrick Grier is totally, rivetingly, creepily, heartbreakingly amazing. His performance is a tour de force. Deborah Vieyra is also really, really good in a difficult, complicated and many layered part, and Bo’s direction is so subtle and detailed it leaves not a moment unattended.
The subject matter of this play is what makes it controversial. Here it is thrown on its head, turned inside out and it reappears for what it is, sexual abuse. I am still trying to get my brain around it. The Intimate Theatre being exactly that, intimate, makes it feel like you are in the room with these two; you can even smell what they smell. It’s a hideous, hard, tender, radical, and riveting piece.
I was not myself at the end of the play. I wanted to give it a standing ovation but I couldn’t stand up. I really was shattered.