The quiet suffering of grief can be as soft as gravel crunching underfoot to some and as loud as a car crash to others. No matter how it feels it is always heard. Perhaps that is the intended message of Lot Vekeman’s Poison?
Catarina Hebbard, the director of this production, interestingly enough compares the characters of Poison and their relationship as the turmoil, and the world and all that goes on in it as the peace. Perhaps we the grievers are the chaos in a world that is naturally at peace. Objectively, death is a reflection of life. One cannot be without the other. Our grief goes against the tide of this theory. Is that cold to think that way? Can humankind be “too” objective?
The opposing characters, once deeply in love and now irreparably broken after so much loss, never named but defined as ‘He’ and ‘She’ are a great personification of these contrasting views. Not just views, but methods of survival after such a shocking blow as many parents who have lost a child might understand.
Isn’t it interesting that a woman who loses her husband is called a widow, a husband who loses his wife is called a widower and a child who loses their parents is called an orphan. But what is the name for parents who lose a child? Is there one? Is there a name for such a void as this?
In that chasm of unnaming and unknowing is where we find the directionless passion of He and She. This production brings to a head a void, a ship with no course and a storm with no end in sight. A least, overtly it seems to be the case for She. But as the show goes on it seems He has the same listless passion, but a different approach to hiding it.
Much like a poison, grief inflicts itself on the most unexpected aspects of their lives – and when caught at the turning point of having to bring up these feelings after 9 years both figuratively and literally watching Elise Greig and Paul Bishop interact is both fascinating and uncomfortable. It truly feels like we shouldn’t be there. Like a child spying through a keyhole even though their gut tells them to run.
Poison will infect you with emotion and intrigue. With dates running from the 9th to the 19th May, at Metro Arts Theatre do not miss out on this uncomfortable pleasure.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Tickets and details: https://www.metroarts.com.au/events/poison/