THEATRE: 16 MAY 2016


As We Forgive, by Tom Holloway | Directed by Julian Meyrick

Tasmania Performs & Griffin Theatre Company | Stables Theatre, Darlinghurst, Sydney | Until 21 May

From the very first discordant notes from the mesmerising cellist (Jack Ward) I knew it was going to be an interesting night.

As We Forgive was like watching three different actors as Robert Jarman, in a one-man show, ushered the audience into three moral-laden labyrinths to forgiveness.

His words invented a world you could certainly inhabit in your mind’s eye, despite the minimal use of props in the room. I was transported to the outdoors, into the night, hiding in shadows, I could smell the wet grass, feel the weight of a star-laden sky. I was frightened. I was a powerless voyeur in the face of implied vengeance. A potent use of language drew complex pictures that were layered and open to interpretation.

At the end of the performance my buddy and I were at odds with each other as to the outcome. On chatting with other guests we found we were not alone. They too were divided. Speaking with the playwright, Tom Holloway, afterwards his enigmatic smile did nothing to enlighten us. Instead he seemed delighted with the questions posed rather than answers the play evoked.

Director Julian Meyrick says of the play: “Plays can do many things. Conjure wonderful images. Recount memorable tales. Amuse, amaze, divert, subvert, thrill. They can also — though harder, this — articulate complex emotional and moral terrain. They can freight arguments into human form, showing us the consequences of our deepest actions and values. In other words, plays can be serious and though these words seem to threaten a long, punishing night in the theatre, nothing could be further from the case with the work of Tom Holloway.”

I couldn’t say it better myself. An excellent night with Tasmania Performs.