67: The Girl Who Saw Everything

27 May

I was keen to read some more Alma De Groen after loving The Rivers of China as much as I did. But The Girl Who Saw Everything is a very different sort of play.

play, wine bottle and candle holder

This is much more a talk fest: smart people discuss feminism, art and menopause and stare, in fascination, at their own navels. I’m being harsh, but this sort of theatre feels so terribly dull to me. After the exciting, brave choices De Groen made in The Rivers of China, this seems very pedestrian.

Liz and Gareth have been married for years but Gareth is struggling because Liz has decided she wants to live in the Blue Mountains instead of at their Sydney flat. Then Gareth stops for a young woman in distress at the side of the road, but when he stops she runs from him and is hit by another car and killed. He begins an affair with the driver of the other car: a needy and neurotic younger woman. The two other characters in this relationship drama are an aging artist (Saul) and his very young lover (Edwina) – who has some of the best lines in the play.

EDWINA: Yes, I had a rotten education, yes I write English like it’s my second language and it’s not, no I can’t add or subtract and the amount of knowledge in the world doubles every five years and I’m unaware, I’m outside, I’m scientifically illiterate – but we’re still only a blink from the Middle-ages; we’re a split second from Shakespeare. I believe in deep time, I believe in the Shakespeare of the future – mutant, diseased, or a spark of Artificial Intelligence, but he or she will be there.

The dialogue is frightfully clever, but none of it touched me. When politicians scoff about the latte swilling, chattering classes, this is exactly who they are talking about. Earnest and well-meaning pontificators, who seem incapable of actually doing anything meaningful.

Publisher: Currency Press

Cast: 3F, 2M (could also be played with 4F, 2M)

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