By Kerrie Batrouney
This Wide Night, by Chloë Moss, is playing at The Burrow until 15th December. It is a play about two women and how they renegotiate a relationship formed in prison, to the very different reality of life on the outside.
On entering the theatre, we are faced with a living room / studio, sparse and basic. We are gradually introduced to the two players Marie and Lorraine. Marie (played by Claire Sara) has been out of prison for a little while and is struggling to find her feet, but she seems to be succeeding and is initially reluctant to renew contact with Lorraine. Lorraine (played by Sancia Robinson) is fresh out of prison after 12 years inside, angry, lost, twitchy and volatile, searching for something familiar. Marie seems quite sensible and coping but this assumption starts to unravel as they disintegrate into fragmented emotions and aggressive over reactions. Initially there is a very uncomfortable feeling between the two of them, but they start to bond over their mutual anger at their situation and the impractical help they receive as they transition out of the criminal justice system. The play also explores how relationships are destroyed by the decisions they made earlier in life and the emotional price they have paid, the heartbreaking consequences to the mother child connection. This manifests itself in their anxious overthinking, obsession and lack of confidence in everyday activities. There is regret and bravado, as they ride the emotional roller-coaster of being alone, detoxing, rediscovery and the scary outside world. By the end of the play they have remembered why they like each other, they are able to offer mutual support as they move towards a more positive future in a world where they have to discover themselves all over again.
Sancia and Claire both act in and produced ‘This Wide Night’. They are brilliant and I am so impressed with the characters they have created. I was completely convinced by Marie and Lorraine. There is a huge range of emotions portrayed and whist I haven’t been in their position I feel like I better understand it. The play is set in England with several popular English references, so they also took on English accents. The Director / Sound Designer is Elias Jamieson Brown, the Lighting Designer / Sound Operator is Vivian Nguyen.
The Burrow is an ‘Underground Art Space’, a blank shop space from the front but as you enter around the back there is a welcoming courtyard, bar and staff. My only negative thought was that from where we sat on the fourth row, we could often not see the players, as they were below us and sitting down.
In conclusion, This Wide Night is intense, real, emotional, sad, humorous, uncomfortable, it’s a story about getting by after getting out!
The performance was a charity event for Flat Out, a state-wide Homelessness support, outreach and advocacy service for women who have had contact with the criminal justice or prison system. It is a not-for-profit, community-based organisation. It offers several amazing support programs for women, for more information visit www.flatout.org.au
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.