by Marcia Rowe
In his latest venture, Mr & Mrs Blacke, Keiran King tackles the issue of marriage and just how easy it is to have it all slip through your fingers.
Last Sunday, when the curtains at the Sir Philip Sherlock Centre, located on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies, opened, it revealed 35-year-old Samantha Blacke (Keisha Patterson).
Motionless, she stands looking through a window of her predominantly white, spacious and expensively decorated apartment.
She is wearing full black, comprising of a pair of shorts and blouse.
Her open-space, living/dining room with an adjoining kitchen, as well as a half-bathroom located in the upstage area, create a distinct contrast to her attire.
Disconcerting was the obvious untidiness of the luxurious apartment.
Thereafter, her husband Nicholas Blacke (Keiran King) arrives. He too is attired in mainly black – a black suit with white shirt and black tie. Shortly after his arrival, the pieces in the puzzle of their story begin to connect in a slow simmering sort of way.
Connected together, the puzzle revealed that the Blackes are of the “upwardly mobile professional class”. They have been married for 10 years.
Nicholas, who works for a financial investment company, is the active professional. He, however, does not love his job. Samantha, who wants to be a professional writer, seems more content to speak in poetic language than to put pen to paper. Rather than working on her craft, she has opted to spend her days at the gym and at beauty salons.
Like her best friend Gina, who is never seen, Samantha wants to be a mother, but Nicholas is not ready to be a father.
He is more concerned with maintaining the lifestyle he has worked tirelessly to build.
His other interest seemed to be to stay on good terms with his former boss Natalie Wynter. She is never seen but is often the topic of heated dispute between Samantha and Nicholas.
The subsequent firestorm grows out of control, when Nicholas and Samantha share a dance. The dance was, in part, an attempt to rekindle the flame in their marriage. But instead, everything goes terribly wrong.
The story occurs in one evening, the action takes place in one location and the characters behave in ways based on their sex, and status.
King skilfully plays with the lines of the characters, making them well-rounded. In so doing, the playwright suggests he understands the ‘humanness’ of a person.
The play was well cast. The lanky King and the short Patterson together produced some humorous moments. And King gave a brilliant account of Mr Blacke. Each change in emotions was executed with deep feelings and clarity.
Similarly good was Patterson in her role as Mrs Blacke.
The play is directed by Paul Issa. There were moments of wonderful blockings. His use of exits and entrances were clear and well defined. He fully utilised all the acting areas too. But the use of face towels for Samantha’s clothes seemed contradicting to the comfortable lifestyle of the couple.
Mr & Mrs Blacke is a wonderfully produced play and is worth seeing. But alas due to its adult content and language it is not suitable for children.