30: Witchplay

20 Apr

Tobsha Learner’s Witchplay is a one-woman play about survival, intolerance and spirits.

Katherine reading play

Batcha is an elderly medium, trying to contact the spirit of her neighbour’s mother: who was electrocuted by her hair dryer. The only problem is that there are a whole lot of other spirits who want to get in first and tell their stories.

BATCHA: No…not that chair, that’s Jacov’s chair…every night it waits for him…forever thirty and the arms they hang like broken sticks…Listen…they say that a murdered man never finds peace…he just wanders…like chicken feathers…up and down…up and down…until the day he would naturally die and they say he goes to heaven…heaven…my kind of heaven…beautiful boys swimming in borscht…with shoulders like fantastic pillows…

There’s a lot of humour and bawdy goings on as well as some tender moments and plenty of horrible ways to die, mostly due to persecution. Batcha is her family’s only survivor of Auschwitz and she’s now living in Australia. It’s incongruous hearing her talking to Narelle and trying to reach Maureen, while long gone spirits of a woman murdered for witchcraft and a young goat herd who killed his wife for having sexual appetites constantly interrupt Batcha’s flow to tell their own stories.

I’m interested in the one-person genre of plays and Tobsha Learner has done a clever job of making the one actor, multiple characters convention work by making her central character a medium, possessed by the spirits of the other characters.

Published alongside One Small Step by Heather Nimmo.

Publisher: Currency Press

Cast: 1F (and one rabbit)

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