Life x 3

Life x 3
By Yasmina Reza. Canberra Repertory, Theatre 3. Director: Garry Fry. 5–20 August 2011

Life x 3 demonstrates three various approaches to the one evening's events by two couples.  Altogether, the comparison is instructive.  In essence a very serious piece, the play offers as its chief amusement crescendoing clashes of fixed, self-interested viewpoints.

Lighting, costuming, stage design, and sound were as usual faultless. My only quibble, a minor one, with the performance itself is whether the opening act needed to be quite so intense.  Though all four visible actors showed their abilities in the later acts, most appeared, in Act One, a little emotive. That aside, the action in all acts was well-paced, no slightest hesitation or rush marring the illusion of two thoroughly dislikeable couples reaping their karma; every word was clear in the middle of the audience; and even alcoholic mannerisms, easily rendered artificial, looked natural as well as amusing.

 

This play depicts well the limitations of modern, educated city dwellers appallingly unaware of the needs even of others.  But it incorporates a kind of redemption in using three alternative sets of character traits to show the emotional intelligence with which life can be lived: as well as the selfish end of the spectrum, characters far more sympathetic to others and who thereby invited our sympathies.  In the end, all four actors nuanced perfectly the goodness of imperfect people.

John P. Harvey

 

Photo: Sam Hannan-Morrow, Debbie Newboult, Peter Holland, and Megan Skillicorn, in Life x 3.  Photographer: Cliff Spong.

 

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