I have spent the last hour or so deciding whether to write about LIE, the play I saw last night, because it only has one more performance tonight. What made me decide to do it is that I have some strong advice for the writer, director and cast should the piece be performed again.
LIE is a Rust Co-Operative production, on at The Intimate. I missed their first offering, Expectant, last week but managed to catch their second, LIE. Here are the people. LIE is written, designedÂ and directed by Philip Rademeyer, with Stefan Erasmus, Jaco NothnagelÂ and Danieyella Rodin. It is the (not terribly original) story of young gay runaway who becomes a street rent boy, married man’s lover and murder victim.
So, there were many, many things I liked about this production, but more that I didn’t, and I think that it has tons of potential, but it needs loads more work to make it successful, moving and fabulous.
It looked very beautiful to start with, and there were some deliciously lit, purely visual, gorgeous moments to look at. There were some beautiful sections of truly poetic writing, in fact I liked most of the writing, except for the fact that it was so overly repetitive. I get repetition, but it needs to be worked for, and earned. There were some amazing acting moments from all three of the performers, but mostly it was over acted, over emoted, over done really. And it was terribly over directed. Too much moving, too much blocking, too much shouting, too much slow motion. It was as if we weren’t really supposed to trust the text. I had this vision quite quickly into the piece, of how lovely it would be to just listen to the story, to watch the three actors (and characters) talk to each other, talk the story through, instead of stomp, crawl, lie, and move about all the time.
And then there were the tricky choices; the ones that told us exactly what to expect from the piece. Gay trannie boy in white undies (whose edges were endlessly grabbed and curled), fishnets and heels, with red lips. Obvious religious costumes (Mary blue and whites, fallen angel squashed wings, crown of thorns) doubly mentioned in the text with repetitious saviour, mother etc. Honestly, we get it. We understand. We know where you are coming from. But for me, the hardest thing was those damn drama school Equus stilt shoes that poor Danieyella had to manage. Dear gods of drama school costumes, please hide those damn Graeme Germont hell shoes away for the rest of eternity.
Trust people. Trust, Rust Co-Operative. Trust the text. Trust the idea and the intention. Trust the performers. A talented team doesn’t have to shove it down your throat as graphically as the one line in the play suggests.