Hidden away in the depths of the hull of an old warship at the QLD Maritime Museum is a very small, very beautiful cabin. This cabin plays host to an intimate performance of I Wanted To Talk About Death, a play written and co-directed by Kat O’Flaherty, co-directed by Freya Hoareau, and starring Lexi Ashby and Esme Wilson. This play has set its sights on the mother of all moral questions – “Who should give the right to die?” This question suggests an examination of the euthanasia debate, though I’m unsure if that ever really happened in the piece.
We Need To Talk About Death follows the turmoil of two characters as they struggle with the imminent death of friend – the circumstances of this person’s death is left to the imaginations of the audience. These two characters share singular, inflexible and polar opposite views on the situation – one, the modest Christian, sees order and meaning in the tragedy and trusts the divine order of things – the other, an angry nihilist, is consumed by the pointlessness and injustice of the oncoming loss.
Inserted into this otherwise wholly traditional play are a few devices for audience interaction. Though these elements intend to place some sort of responsibility onto the audience, they lacked proper integration into the world of the play. The audience’s position is totally unclear, and when the show asks one audience member to make a choice about who should receive some sleeping pills, the decision seems arbitrary and the delivery of the question is really awkward. If this moment was intended to mirror the question of “Who should give the right to die?” then it was offensively superficial; the euthanasia debate purportedly being examined is reduced to cheap dramatics and gimmicky interactivity.
This play is best summed up by the closing scene where one character dramatically consumes a bottle of sleeping pills (jellybeans?) and is then left to awkwardly chew her mouthful looking sorry for herself. I Wanted To Talk About Death will be performed again on the 17th and 18th of May at 6.30pm.
Seen on 11/05/18
Written by Esther Dougherty