24/7 Theatre hosts As We Forgive Them by Richard Vergette from Pure Nightclub in The Printworks.
I have to say that my vision felt clouded at the start because of the venue being a trashy nightclub and the condom machine in the women’s toilet’s bleeping out of order, I decided to let go of that and judge the play based on it’s own merit, and after all at least in this nightclub they use condoms.
A teacher arrives at a state penitentiary to give lessons to, Lee Fenton, a convicted murderer classed as retarded. As the play unravels, we learn that the teacher, played by Vergette himself, is Congressman John Daniels and it was his daughter who was murdered by Lee.
All of the action takes place inside the prison’s interview room where the 3 scenes move from 2008 to 2016. We see the relationship between Daniels and Lee shifting, from an uninterested Lee with a focused Daniels, to the education of Lee in mid flow.
Lee reads a passage from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest beautifully illustrating the irony of role reversal, reflecting what we can see happening within Daniels and Lee’s relationship. At this point I realise I am unsure as to either of their motives, but I start to empathise with Lee and see that boundaries are blurring. At first I am convinced that forgiveness is taking place.
As the play moves through various subtleties, confusion as to what the real truth is behind either of the characters becomes more obscure. Daniels bounces between the role of a passionate educator to a media hungry states congressman who is desperately trying to further his career and reputation. Lee emerges from a simpleton to a real thinker, who can read Daniels, whether he reads him correctly or not is something I’m still not sure about.
It left me as all good art should with plenty of thoughts especially about the nature of broadening the mind and if that was the ultimate punishment one who does something without thought could face.
I’m still thinking about it.
July 28th, 2009 at 11:18 am
Hi Becksie, Thanks so much for coming to our show, I really appreciate it. Just a quick note though to say that I the actor am named Joe Sims and my character is called Lee Fenton. My friend this morning told me that I was a convicted murderer who is classed as retarded! Whilst the jury is still out on the latter I am lucky enough to have never have been covicted of murder, much to the delight of my Nan!
Anyway, thanks again for coming to see it and all the best with all of your future endeavours.
July 28th, 2009 at 12:55 pm
I made a big faux pas, and accused poor Joe Sims of murder and being retarded, what a good actor that fellow is! It is now amended the character is Lee Fenton, the actor is Joe Sims. Sorry about that Joe and I must say it was a great performance and really has given me a lot to think about. Glad you saw the funny side of my error.
July 28th, 2009 at 1:10 pm
Absolutely no problem! As I said before I am really pleased you were able to come. 24:7 is such an important festival that enables the showcase of fantastic new writing and it was a pleasure to be involved. The humility and general good grace that was so condusive to a fantastic environment not to mention sheer talent of everyone involved was a real testament to the fine creative work going on in the North West. It was the antithesis of the all too often stereotype of neurotic and paranoid creative types bitching and moaning and I for one was so happy to find it so. Hopefully it wont be too long before I am lucky enough to come back?
July 28th, 2009 at 3:48 pm
Hi – as Joe says, thanks so much for coming to see the show. We had a fantastic time and we were both quite knocked out with how the play went down with the punters. We met some really nice people – writers, actors and producers as well as festival goers in general. It was my second time at the festival but this time was much more fun!!
Thanks for your support Becksie