by Tomekha McCarthy
Navigating this life, trying to find one’s way, trying to decipher who one is supposed to be when one has ‘grown up’ but is yet a child in an adult’s body is what Keiran King’s, “Taboo”, is all about. From set design to character traits, there is a motif of childishness and immaturity that pervades the production.
The brightly coloured set of primary colours red, yellow and blue which take the shapes of a square, triangle and circle which blocks sections of the house is evocative of a kindergarten classroom which aids in the suggestion of youthful meanderings.
The much publicized play that you shouldn’t see, delves into the marital and personal struggles of two couples…four people, Sabrena (Lisa Williams) and William (Keiran King) and Gina (Yendi Phillips) and John (Rodney Campbell), who seem successful enough, but who are dissatisfied on many levels with the lives they’re leading.
Their struggles are reminiscent of many of ours, well, let me not say that as I don’t know about you, but I certainly do find myself with much of the angst that faces King’s character, William.
“What am I doing with my life?” Having that feeling in the pit of my stomach that reminds me that time is running out and I have yet to accomplish any great feats. Feeling that at my age I should be doing something more significant with my life — despairing that I perhaps never will.
William’s struggles are inherently mirror images of mine, so I no doubt would identify strongly with him as a character, but it takes a talented actor to reach inside himself and find the torment and agony that is the daily life of such a soul and bring it to life so palpably on stage. Poetic, dramatic, melancholy — the torture and anguish of an artist is perfectly captured.
Sabrena’s is another character that was well played. Behind the loud, crass, drunkeness that is her chosen facade, I could see in her eyes, hear in her voice that the vulgar extremities to which she often deferred was a mere cover, cloaking the dark place of pain from which her dissatisfaction arises. My only dissatisfaction comes from not knowing her backstory.
Where I do find acting skills lacking though, is in the character of Gina, played by theatre new comer, Yendi Phillips. I find her expressions could have been stronger, her lines delivered with more conviction, that she could have been a bit more immersed in her role, but, it was a fair attempt I believe, for a debut.
On the whole, however, the chemistry among these players was undeniable. The obvious dysfunction of William’s and Sabrena’s marriage was exciting to watch; their heated and witty exchanges made for much laughter but they indeed did still have a spark that set off fireworks, and not necessarily the good kind, every few minutes. The slow unravelling of Gina’s and John’s ‘perfect union’ which culminated at the shocking revelation of the unspeakable relationship, from which the play gets its name, was another story altogether; the moral of which is, ‘Not all that glisters is gold‘.
The world is filled with so many taboos, many of which are much less so now than in decades past, but none have dared touch this particular taboo which is the central conflict of this production; but Keiran King has opened the door and left it slightly ajar so theatre goers may return to think on it long after they’ve left the theatre.
Pandora’s box has been opened.