Gritty and gripping premiere
Intense and intriguing, gritty and gripping, the premiere of Angie Farrow’s full length play The Politician’s Wife was given the multi-media treatment by director Stephen Bain.
The jarring edgy images that were sometimes live-projected on both sides of the in-the-round presentation emphasised the immediacy of the production. The Politician’s Wife may have been set in an Antipodean type country in the not too distant future, but its content is about now.
Before us are the stark realities of Lesbos in the Mediterranean, of Australia’s Manus and Christmas Island detention centres. Really, this is a dramatised debate about the world refugee crisis brought to life by four actors playing multiple roles..
Kim, a former nurse, and now the rich, bored and emotionally stunted wife of an up-and-coming hard-line anti-immigration political candidate encounters a former hospital colleague.
Jasper works at the offshore immigration camp. Kim, tired of playing consort to her husband’s political ambitions, decides to live a double life, secretly pulling shifts at the camp. It’s a move that doesn’t just compromise her public life. She becomes personally involved in the increasingly desperate lives of the detainees, and her choices have consequences she can only escape by making a deal.
Like a well edited TV drama, the play moves at a fast clip courtesy of quick costume and character changes. Not all these were on the money. In places, more nuanced performances were needed to preserve total authenticity, but by focusing on individual stories, the production successfully conveyed the bleak realities of lives lost in limbo, and the callousness of political machinations.
The play’s short season here before opening in Wellington, couldn’t have been more timely or it’s themes more current. Production of The Politician’s Wife coincided with news of more Syrians being displaced from the city of Fallujah, three more refugee families arriving to live in Palmerston North, and weekend celebrations to mark World Refugee Day.
Palmerston North playwright, Angie Farrow.