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March 7, 2005 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Considering Rachel and A Stye of the Eye

Considering Rachel and A Stye of the Eye, By Desiree Gezentsvey and Christopher Durang, Directed by Yael Gezentsvey, BATS 28 February – 3 March

I feel that a night of one-act plays, particularly a night of only two one-act plays, should have some semblance of a theme; they should not just be an excuse to do two plays that someone wanted to do. In this case, the Faberizzi’s one-act plays Considering Rachel and A Stye of the Eye could not be more different. And not in a good way. Considering Rachel is a realistic drama, A Stye of the Eye defies definition. A Stye of the Eye makes you laugh and question and think. Considering Rachel made me roll my eyes.

Written by Desiree Gezentsvey, Considering Rachel is about Rachel and Dave’s marriage. The action swings from Rachel getting angry at Dave to Dave trying to placate her, with the odd philosophical conversation thrown in. Their trivial skirmishes, at first amusing, quickly become tired. For me, theatre is about the stories of life, which have often been told, but told in an exciting and different way. Considering Rachel presented nothing new or original. More importantly, I didn’t care. I didn’t care about these characters; I had no emotional investment in them at all. Rachel was plain annoying. She was every female cliché rolled into one: irrational, emotional, a drama queen.

Eventually we find out that, oh, all she’s really so upset about is Dave’s ex-girlfriend Julie, because she thinks she might be pregnant and she’s previously lost her baby. It’s sad. But I didn’t care, I was already sick to death of Rachel. I don’t blame Mel Dodge’s performance for this, I blame the script. That’s not to say Considering Rachel doesn’t have its moments, it’s just that they are few and far between. Yael Gezentsvey does a good job to make the most of these moments – however, it’s in the second play (after an extremely amusing and efficient set changeover) that her talent as a director is showcased.

A much more stimulating and exciting play (alternatively, “raucous and confusing”) is Christopher Durang’s A Stye of the Eye. For theatre-goers like me, it is great because it takes the piss out playwrights like Sam Shepard, and more generally out of poetic, symbolic, drama wank. Jake kills his actress wife Beth because he couldn’t stand the pretentious play she was in. Even if you can’t appreciate this aspect of the play, the random, over-the-top, incest-ridden and schizophrenic comedy will get your sides hurting. Well done to Estevez Gillespie, Kate Fitzroy and Tina Helm for their exceptional performances. I may be slightly unfair in saying this (but hey, I’m a reviewer, it’s my right) but I also expected more from this play. Having seen this production in the third year theatre students’ directing season at Studio 77 last year, I was awaiting a thrilling re-staging of this wonderful play. However, it was pretty much the same as last time. Not to say that it wasn’t still excellent. After the disappointment of Considering Rachel I was hoping A Stye of the Eye would make up for it. However, brilliant as it is, it didn’t. I can’t put it more symbolically or poetically than that.


About the Author ()

Well hello there. Eleanor was the Theatre Editor in 2007, now she writes the Women's Column and just generally minces about the Salient office. Eleanor is currently an Honours student in Theatre (with a touch of gender). She also has a BCA in Marketing but she tries to keep that on the d-low (embarrassing, because she loves academic integrity and also perpetuating the myth that she's a tad bohemian). If you've got a gender agenda, woo her by taking her a BYO Malaysian. She lies, if you show any interest at all she'll probably tackle you in the street and force you to write a column.

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