Paul Gilchrist’s new play ‘Life is Impossible’ is for audiences that enjoy a darker kind of theatre with a strong philosophical and political bent.
The inspiration for Gilchrist’s latest play is Simone Weil (1909-1943), legendary French philosopher, mystic and social activist. Gilchrist makes her, to be more exact, an imagining, a dramatisation of her, his central character.
The play is set in 1942. Simone, a young, French Jewish woman, is bunkered up in her New York apartment, reading voraciously, and distraught by the merciless destructiveness of the Nazis. She is determined to get a passport to go to England and fight for the partisans.
In the meanwhile, Simone is having issues with her flatmate. Elaine. Elaine, a bright, perky woman all the way from Australia, recently arrived in the Big Apple to work at the United Nations. There is a huge personality clash. Simone is tough minded, ultra sensitive, bookish, dour, intense, a straight shooter. Elaine is sweet natured, dreamy, a party girl, dates guys, loves going to musicals, wants to have a good time. Elaine’s life and head are turned around by her experiences living with Simone.
Thematically, the playwright’s primary focus is looking at the merits of living life with imagination and creatively. Is it a worthwhile enterprise to dream of a better life as per the Judy Garland song, ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’, that opens the show? Gilchrist references theatre in his exploration, in particular Tennesse William’s classic play about reality and dreams, ‘The Glass Menagarie’.
‘Life is Impossible’ is the latest production to be put on by the subtlenuance theatre company. The playwright effectively directs the play himself, and wins good performances from his cast.
Jo Richards played the volatile Simone. There was a good chemistry between Heidi Lupprian as Elaine, and Lucas Connolly who played her newly found beau, US military intelligence officer, Tom, who also had a keen interest in Simone’s left wing leanings. Brett Nevill was solid as the British Consulate official, Michael, whom Simone attended.
Daniela Giorgi’s sparse set design worked effectively. Simone’s living room was marked by piles of books. In the scenes at the consulate office, the actor brought in a small table and a couple of chairs. For Elaine and Tom’s romantic walk along the Husdon River a backdrop featuring a glittering New York city skyline was revealed.
Subtlenuance’s production of ‘Life is Impossible plays the Newtown Theatre corner King and Bray streets, Newtown until October 16, 2010.
Tags: ‘Life is Impossible’, Paul Gilchrist, Daniela Giorgi, Lucas Connolly, Heidi Lupprian, Brett Nevill, Jo Richards, Simone Weil.