08/08/2017 - 12/08/2017
This is a story of love between Anna and Tabatha.
Anna is a professional swimmer, her life is dedicated to training 24/7. She lives with her mom, a very fastidious retired swimmer.
She controls her life, her routine and daily schedules. She wants to make her daughter the swimming star she never was. She controls all her movements, her social life and makes sure Anna is always by her side, to avoid feeling empty and lonely. From the very beginning of Anna’s life her mum has invaded all personal space possible, she has no privacy or friends.
One night, Anna meets Tabatha at the pool. After the mother finds out about this relationship, the lives of these two girls turn in an unexpected way.
This is a story about life, love, desire, passion and despair. The Swimmer will make the audience dive deep into the raw emotions and to question ourselves about how much we are capable of losing for true love.
BATS Theatre, The Propeller Stage
8 – 12 August 2017
Full Price $18
Concession Price $14
Group 6+ $13
*The Propeller Stage is fully wheelchair accessible; please contact the BATS Box Office at least 24 hours in advance if you have accessibility requirements so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.
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Behind the scenes video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-cXNJrC38g
Cast: Anastasia Davis, Kassie McLuskie and Meron McCardle
Review by John Smythe 09th Aug 2017
I shall try to represent The Swimmer as best I can, in case its style is to some else’s taste, but it turns out it’s not to mine.
The premise is promising: competitive swimmer Anna, under the fastidious control of daughter of an unfulfilled ex-swimmer mother, falls in mutual love with Tabatha, another swimmer. “This play is about love, desire, youth and passion,” the programme note tells us. “It’s about two women rebelling against their families with their sole desire being simply to be true to themselves. It’s about questioning how much we are willing to lose for love and true freedom.”
I have great admiration for the powerful commitment Meron McCardle (Anna), Kassie McLuskie (Mother) and Anastasia Davis (Tabatha) bring to fulfilling the vision of playwright and director Manuel Saez. But the way it plays out is repetitive and overdramatic to the extent that it’s rendered undramatic.
Over and over Anna demands her freedom, Mother demands obedience on the basis that “I gave birth to you – you are my blood!” and Tabatha professes her love for Anna while stuck in co-dependent mother-love. Even if the unrelentingly intense and often histrionic monologues and dialogues became the libretto for a tragic modern opera, the lack of light and shade would make it hard to take.
There is nothing for the audience to do other than weather the onslaught. There is nothing for us to discover; we are offered no wider social context within which this drama plays out; we are not invited to empathise with anyone’s experience; all three express themselves with massively self-involved intensity … All we can do is witness the outpourings of inner feelings and try vainly to reconcile them and their behaviour with the real world.
I try to align the performance style it to Greek tragedy but there is no gods v humanity challenge, no moral dilemma and no effective dramatic structure to warrant the epic expostulations. It’s clear very quickly that Mother has no right to use her daughter to fulfil her unresolved ambitions and that the young women have every right to explore their mutual attraction – although there is little to suggest they will find much joy in the process.
The vertical lighting projecting bright squares on the impressive stage cloth (no designer is credited) looks good initially but it does the actors no favours. Sometimes the almost ghoulish shadows they throw on faces do have a dramatic impact but more often than not we are wanting the actors to find their light – if it’s available.
In summary, amid this flood of deeply-felt emotion The Swimmer lacks buoyancy.
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