Sex War Theatre
SUE LENIER is the playwright, which is all the information anyone who saw her last year's Knight Fall needs to send him, lickity-spit down to the Mandela Theatre on Abbeymount.
This year she is rather more diistant from distinguished predecessors than she was in the Grailway excursion. We are back in extreme antiquity, and in theory she is again offering a quest-play.
This time the quest is for procreation as counterpart to Quest for Fire: however, the three characters do speak — prose and (in the case of the woman, significantly) verse. The play is actually a sardonic feminist anticipation of the relations of man and woman throughout the ages, abounding in effectively-taken ironic encapsulations of male and (occasionally) female self-delusion.
Interpreting modern society by parables from primitive man is an old pastime ranging from the merely banal, as in The Flinstones, to the high achievements of MarkTwain (in Adam's diary) and James Thurber (in his fable The Sea and the Shore), and Lenier walks worthily in the Twain-Thurber tradition. The male notions of where babies come from, the use of shadow symbols, the half-canticle, half-candyfloss woman-trap, the Chinese boxes on who is imprisoning whom, the constantly changing identities of aggressor and threat warn against the taking the progress of events for granted, and the denouement is not certain until one is outside of the theatre.
The production is worthy of the fine script.