#Tweetingit- 2** entertainment it is not – shocking and repellent at times, Dea does, however, offer an interesting social and political statement.
Dea by Edward Bond explores the tyranny of our society and how it provokes unimaginable violence in our personal lives and in society.
The story is based on the Greek tragedy Medea by Euripides where the titular character murders her child as an act of revenge against her husband Jason who has committed adultery.
In Bond’s version we follow Dea’s descent into madness and the conditions surrounding it. There is horrific violence interspersed throughout the play such as the murder of two babies and rape, along with other graphic material. Although the violence is painful and saddening to watch it does not feel gratuitous and helps tell the story. The extremity of the violence, particularly in the second act is reminiscent of Goya’s images of ‘The Disasters of War’. However technical issues meant that the violence wasn’t portrayed convincingly at times.
In the programme, Bond writes that ‘Drama’s function is to push the present to extremes so that we may see what we are doing and where we are going’. Dea is a play that fulfils this intention. It wakes you up to the fact that acts of violence like the ones being portrayed are happening in some parts of the world as we speak. Bonds theatre doesn’t pacify or provide escapism.
The writing is poetic and filled with meaning. None of the lines or exchanges of dialogue feel misplaced. I am not surprised by the quality of the writing since the late playwright Sarah Kane (who was inspired by Bonds work) said that ‘you can learn everything you need to know about playwriting, by studying Saved’. Saved is one of Bonds most influential works and caused uproar after its first showing, but also helped abolish Lord Chamberlain’s censorship laws in 1968.
Although I appreciate Bond’s work, the staging was very ordinary and not something I can rave about. During the third act Dea’s madness and th
e soldiers experience of Post-Traumatic stress disorder becomes a bit relentless and repetitive. However it is well acted.
The writing and potent message are the two things that make Dea shine, but the staging and technical issues do it a disservice.
Running until 11th June
Writer & Director: Edward Bond
Set Design: Maira Vazeou,
Producer: Beri Juraic
Cast: Helen Bang, Edward Avison-Scott, Joylon Price, Christopher Birks, David Clayton, Holly Joyce, James Beedham, Glenn Hanning, Alexander Hueston, Sam Kacher, Abe Buckoke, Ben Gilbert, Alex Ranahan, Joshua Pascoe, Cole Michaels.
Reviewer: Jessica Robinson