West East theatre starts up in Melbourne.

Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me by Frank McGuinness
fortyfivedownstairs
45 Flinders Lane Melbourne

Three men sit in front of you in chains for a couple of hours.

If you want to know what it is like, the situation of hostages – it could be anywhere, but this time it is Beirut – go to see the dramatisation of it. This imaginary world is real. The real world you see on the television is not.

In that sense this play reminds me of The Pilot, which Red Stitch put on a few years ago. Seeing a man captured and tortured in front of you is so much more real in pretence than it is in actuality as observed through the antiseptic medium of YouTube and TV.

Richard Stables, Trent Baker and Ezra Bix make up the cast – wonderful job. The play’s proven itself long before it has made its appearance in Melbourne. It’s a triumphant start for the newly established West East Theatre. Created by Baker and Stables, who were founding members of Red Stitch, they say:

Ultimately West East seeks to transport the audience to another place, another world in which they are totally connected; emotionally and spiritually.

In this aim they have certainly succeeded. The audience is privileged to be sharing space with these unfortunate souls as they create an imaginary world which must make do during their years of incarceration. Maybe why we are so moved to laugh and cry with them is that these are just ordinary people. A doctor, a journalist, a teacher – Ezra’s character Michael is very confused when he first wakes up in this room in chains. He is in Beirut because he can’t get a teaching job in England. He was only making a flan for guests and needed to buy pears. How does one get from that position to chains in a dungeon? And how can one possibly survive 4 years of it?

Do go and see it to find out. It’s on until May 17.
Bookings at fortyfivedownstairs

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