The name Dolores means sorrows. It derives from the Spanish moniker for Virgin Mary of Sorrows.
The titular Dolores of Edward Allan Baker’s DOLORES is no virgin, but she certainly is a sorry so and so, a perpetual sucker to a string of abusive men, the latest of which has bloodied her face and blackened her eye and forced her to seek refuge at her sister Sandra’s place.
Growing up in a blue-collar family, both women are dependent on men and both are vulnerable. Dolores is the family fuck-up with a life strewn with abortions and reckless unrequited romances.
Sandra has settled for a kind of security with Vince and their children, although there is a sense of the battery hen implied, with Vince very much the ruler of the roost, and Sandra is very careful not to ruffle his feathers.
Vince is not impressed that Dolores has sought succor with her sister in his home and would assume her beating was brought on by her own beckoning.
Dolores is played by Kate Box in a heartbreaking characterization, wells of sorrow reservoired in her eyes, the levees of dammed dreams fit to burst from years of physical and emotional battering.
Janine Watson as Sandra is exceedingly good as the exasperated sibling, prickly, wearied, yet prescient that both their lives are part of a tragic treadmill of domestic abuse.
Played out on what has become the Old Fitzroy’s set of anti “homes beautiful”, DOLORES is delivered as American in setting and accents, but the language of abhorrent domestic violence, its recidivism in both perpetrator and victim, is sadly universal, as these Rhode Island girls could just as readily be from Rhodes or Ryde or Redfern.
Red Line Productions presents the Sydney Premiere of Edward Allan Baker’s brutally dark comedy Dolores, as part of the Old Fitz Theatre ‘Late Show’ season, nightly at 9.45 until the 9th May.