Theatre In Focus: Have I None
Edward Bond is known for his thought provoking and censorship breaking plays. His productions have been regarded as the primary reasons for the abolition of stage censorship. So it is safe to say that his productions tend to do more than merely entertain.
Under this guise it is also safe to say that the presentation of his works tend to also try to infuse new and provocative ways to entice audiences beyond the entertaining kinds.
Have I None, at the Captain John's ship at the most southern tip of Yonge Street (as a brass plaque displays the 0km to Yonge St.), redefines performance space. As I arrived at the ship I was taken to the Captain's quarters bar area to wait. Then the whole audience was led out of that safe environment as we delved deep into the belly of the huge beast down several floors and past engines and broken water pipes into a space where every sound of a drop echoed and the damp air surrounded us. The windows were rusted and filthy. Were we under water at this point? No doubt a claustrophobics nightmare.
The lights were dimmed, some of us on milk crates, others on plastic chairs. Suddenly a loud banging is heard that echoes through the entire boat. It is explosive and many audience members jump. The play begins.
Have I None takes place in the future where thought and memory are eradicated. Where everyone dresses the same and luxuries that burdened our societies have been abolished. The three-hander surrounds a couple and a man who arrives to shake their 'disciplined' reality to say that he is the wife's long lost brother. Think 1984 meets The Caretaker.
The satirical 75 minute piece is both funny and scary as the audience is smack in the middle of the action, with actors getting tossed around and furniture, a table and two chairs, getting smashed about. Then there's also that axe. Certainly a play that uses its environment well Have I None asks many questions but purposely leaves no answers. Perhaps this is a warning play. Something the elusive and somewhat clairvoyant Bond is trying to tell us about our access and apathetic lifestyles in a commercialized society. Or maybe it's just a quirky 'play on words'. Perhaps this is one you should judge on your own ability to deal with your own reality. Only time will truly tell.
Have I None runs until May 20th at the Captain John's Harbour Boat and is brought to you by April Productions.
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