The Day the Galaxy Inevitably Exploded and Died – Ildiko Susany explores what’s left when nothings left.(Sydney Fringe Festival)
Can you hear that silence? It frightens me. I can hear the death of the stars.
And so opens the enormously ambitious first work by play write Ildiko Susany, an extremely talented young woman from Brisbane in Sydney with her play for the Sydney Fringe Festival. It is on at the charming and cozy King Street Theatre and is another high recommendation from me.
Broon and Enlon are barely recognisable as brother and sister except by a bond that is forged from a pact about a kind of promise they have made to remain “civilized” in light of everything going on around them. It’s a little difficult to know what is going on around them and not just for the audience. They are trapped in a cave and recognise themselves to be the last human beings on the earth. Scratch that – in the universe the blurb tells us. Some sort of strange race of automaton human-like creatures have taken over everything and their methods of extracting information their victims can’t possibly know, is violent and results in death.
We must see it to the end together. We are not like the others.
The siblings, therefore have no way of knowing what is going to happen to them or when it is going to happen, only that something inevitably will.
Broons ultimate dream is to live and be happy for ever. Enlon’s ultimate dream is to achieve absolute clarity at the end and die in peace. Broon will cling to a broken piece of equipment used to make calculations he is sure are exact. Enlon is decked in symbols of many different religions and wants to pray for peace and enlightenment, building a spiritual fortress around them. A final moment of awareness occurs when both siblings realise they each need faith in order to belive in whatever path they have chosen.
It is but men who think themselves gods who will be the wending of us all.
We can change this. We can end it.
Enlon wants to take some sort of action to change their circumstances, but Broon is overwhelmed by the enormity of their enemy. Broon sees a venturing out of their cave as inevitably resulting in their death. Enlon thinks they are going to die anyway, they may as well die fighting. But fighting for what? For the right to fulfil their own personal dreams? To be master of their own demise? The overlords tell them they can choose to fight, adapt or die, and Enlon cries out – but it is no choice because I don’t have anything of value to you.
Can a God be all loving and all powerful all at once? Why give me this only to take it away from me?
Can we know the mystery of this faith? Give me sign. Show me there is rhyme or reason to this. Give me a sign!
These are the moments I was reminded of Waiting for Godot and Hamlet – not to mention the book of Job. There is an utter meaningless to the lives the siblings are forced to play out. At times they want to ignore this and just have fun. At other times, weighed down by the significance of where and who they are, they want to record their experience and think about how they can keep the hopes of humanity alive.
You are forced to remain in your place by the mere unfulfilled intentions of the gods.
The role faith plays in our life is one of the most interesting aspects of an extremely interesting play. The role of god and or gods in the universe. For Enlon, who wants to pray and who loves spiritual practise (clings to spiritual practise as an attempt to control her circumstances) there is no need for a ‘real’ god. She wants to confront the only true power before her – who are for all intents and purposes Gods, in that they have all control, all power and are toying with human life – using the power of something she does not necessarily believe in. While Boon who does not belive in god, but has “faith” in the “power” of science, is terrified of the others and sees them as a kind of god, wielding power over them and controlling their every move.
Nothing can save us from death. Everything will inevitably be buried under a civilization in ruin. Only on the foundation of unyielding despair can a souls palace be built.
I found this little commentary on the nature of belief fascinating. It’s just one of the many slices of cleverness in this dense and at times rather difficult theatre experience. The language is shrouded in another time so we could be watching a Shakespearean play, a section of the Christian Bible being played out, or a scene from the future – which the play purports to be. The enormous themes of who are we and why are we here have answers thrown from a variety of disciplines such as religion, philosophy, physics, politics and literature. These answers are, literally tossed around verbally so that they form a lattice-work of meaning layering each upon the other. A unique situation develops where all these disciplines, often traditionally at odds with each other, dance in tandem to provide a refreshed way of looking at ideas and ideologies. Almost like a patchwork quilt of answers to hide from the world under.
What the universe can create, man can destroy.
Ultimately, the question comes back to the answer: We are what we are and that is all there is.
Despite the bleak setting it is an optimistic play rarely delving deeply into darkness. Even a scene where Enlon is abducted and tortured doesn’t get too dark and is infused with hope. For all her smarts, Susany is an optimistic human creature and she imbues every dark moment with a ray of her own personal sunshine. She performs the part of Enlon, while Boon is played Cameron Croker. Both do a stellar job with what I can only assume is a challenging script. Sarah Vickery’s direction should be mentioned also. Her polish gives the small production a professional feel. Philip Kolotas set design is mesmerizing as well as versatile and Georgia Ellen’s haunting Cello caps off a potent theatre experience.
I feel big because my atoms came from those stars. And those stars are within us. We are the centre of our own universe. There are no more stars. Perhaps we will see each other on the other side.
This is a cerebral piece expect to be challenged. But it is well worth it. Very rewarding.
Tue 11 Sep, 8:00 PM
Wed 12 Sep, 8:00 PM
Thu 13 Sep, 8:00 PM
Fri 14 Sep, 7:30 PM
Sat 15 Sep, 8:00 PM
Sun 16 Sep, 8:00 PM