No Plain Jane

Theatre reviews and musings (mostly) from Adelaide

Tag: Jacqy Phillips

Review: Land & Sea

Sorry about the published draft, if you happened to catch it anyone. WordPress reaching back into the bowels, enjoy the inner workings of my brain. Here’s an interview I did with Nicki Bloom and Chris Drummond to make up for it.


There is this strange thing when I see a work which emotionally impacts me. I simultaneously feel that I need desperately to write about it, while also feeling writing about it can do nothing but transform it in a way I don’t want.

I want to sing its praises from the roof tops; I want to keep it a secret.

I want to feel I’m a good enough writer to put it into words; I feel like there is no way I possibly have the skill.

I left Land & Sea and I felt like I needed to go into a corner and cry. But I also felt safe in the space of the foyer, like I didn’t want to walk out into the world so I could find that corner I needed.

I felt, somehow, that this was the wrong emotion. The work, while filled with strands of sadness, wasn’t overall a sad story. Or, perhaps it was.

It wasn’t, perhaps, overall a story.

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Review: Buried Child

And so begins David Mealor’s director’s statement, showing us that Buried Child can be summed up with the same plot as 90% of plays set in rural Midwest and Southern America.

The ideal or criticism of the Great American Dream runs through much of that country’s literature.  Written in the late 1970s, Buried Child came off the back of a nation recovering from the Watergate scandal, deep in recession and high in inflation, a country unhappy with the war in Vietnam. In his script Shepard is extremely critical of the mythology a country burying its past, looking forward to a new day.

In a gothic farm-house in Illinois, rain pours down.  Matriarch Halie (Jacqy Phillips) yells down the stairway onto the largely un-listening ears of patriarch Dodge (Ron Haddrick), as he sits and coughs on the couch, watching the television and swigging from a hidden bottle of whisky.  Their son, the lumbering and slow Tilden (Nicholas Garsden) appears, in his arms an old sack, bushels of corn plucked from the depths of the yard.

Over years, the family has become destroyed, fortunes trapped in a rural farm-house, dreaming of what has been lost and hiding away from what can never be regained.  Their other remaining son, Bradley (Patrick Graham), is an abusive lout, and Halie pains for the now dead son who was her great hope.  Halie and Dodge have for many years lived in separate rooms; her dreaming of a happier life that was and escaping the house for a happier life in town; he alive perhaps only by a stubbornness to not leave the house to anyone in his family.

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