I have seen many fantastic pieces of theatre this year, but none have moved me quite so much as Silo Theatre’s The Pride.
The story is “Oliver, Philip and Sylvia are caught in a kind of erotic time warp. Their complex love triangle, replete with conflicting loyalties and passions, shifts from 1958 to the present and back again in a maelstrom of fantasy, repression and rebellion.
In one world, they’re forced to be strangers to both desire and to themselves, weighed down by cautious euphemisms and fearful self-censorship. In the other, the rainbow-stickered present, casual sex and empty style collides with the human heart.”
This play examines the relationships between the characters, particularly between Oliver and Philip, and how the people they are in 1958 informs their contemporary counterparts. The Pride highlights the paths they walk again and again...and the times they forge a new history for themselves.
If you want to see a play that portrays human connection as an entity with nerve endings, this is it. It is at times brutally truthful and raw, and confronting in its honesty. Conversely The Pride acknowledges those lies we tell ourselves and the lies that we tell others, especially when it comes to love and our sexuality. These are both wonderful, hard, challenging aspects of our lives as human beings and whether you live in 1958 or 2012. The Pride examines at what cost we deny the truth of ourselves and the joy and pain - and the hope- that comes from loving another human being with everything you are.
Sophie Roberts should be applauded for her direction of such a moving piece of theatre. The set design is simple but very effective – I particularly liked the prop of a drinks table set up in the corner of the room – in 1958 and present day the characters all use it as a kind of haven from all of the emotional chaos and undercurrents happening in the rest of the room – in one scene one of the characters almost clings to it in an attempt to avoid having to face having a discussion with another character and the whole scene screams tension – loved it.
Kip Chapman as Oliver, Dena Kennedy as Sylvia and Simon London as Phillip just shine. They leap off the stage the way a well-written character leaps out of a novel. Sam Snedden is also fantastic as various supporting characters - his impatient matter-of-factness about Phillip’s attempt to “forget” Oliver in one scene is a great foil for the absolute horror of what Phillp is trying to do (I won't spoil it for you but I won't forget the scene in a hurry!)
The Pride also has a humour to it that shines all the way through, the characters wryly acknowledging their faults (and their lack of knowledge about their faults) in a way that makes you empathise with each character – this is the first play I have seen where I didn’t have a favourite – I wanted the best for them all, which is a huge credit to the performance of the actors. Credit is also due to playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell - a lovely sample line: “From the minute I met you it felt as if you were the only person who had ever known my real name.” The acting and dialogue of this story made me uncover truths I never suspected would be there, and I’m still thinking about them now.
I honestly think you can’t call yourself an Auckland theatregoer until you have seen this – it pushes commonly perceived boundaries, but it also weaves notions throughout of what it means to love another human being – and how our past does not have to rule our future.
That’s a pretty fine thing to explore of an evening.
Don’t miss out – The Pride is only on until September 1st, 2012.
What: The Pride, Silo Theatre
Where: Herald Theatre, The Edge, Auckland
Tickets: Here: $25-49
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