When the Light Leaves

When the Light Leaves
By Rory Godbold. Directed by Jayde Kirchert. La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street Carlton. 12 – 23 June 2019.

Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) is a topic that has long been avoided in our legal, social and moral discourse. Rory Godbold challenges this through a deeply personal account of the loss of a loved one and this brings an engrossing rawness and authenticity to the play.

The harsh and imminent reality of death is painstakingly depicted through Dan (Tomas Parrish). Despite being psychological full of life, he often appears both skeletal and spectral. His slight physicality and the low-key lighting highlight his dark fate. His devoted and distraught partner Liam (Leigh Scully) is played with passion and fire. His sister, Kate (Veronica Thomas), is equally devoted to her baby brother, despite family tensions. Thomas portrays Kate as the older sister with the hard-outer shell which only serves to mask her vulnerability. Dan’s nurse, Alice (Michelle Robertson) is no less affected by his illness and demise and the combination of these characters allows the play to fully enter the shadowy universe where the threat of death lingers.

The performance is housed in a sparse but homely space with delicately suspended props. They become highly evocative through simple but innovative movement. The clever use of flashbacks and flash-forwards allow the complexities of the story and the characters to gradually and beautifully unfold. At the end of the play the stillness and sombre setting tends to say more than the script needs to state. This is a brave and compelling story about a subject that is crying out for a voice.

Patricia Di Risio'

Image by Stu Brown

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