Theatre Works and Michael Allen
5 August 2011
A Solitary Choice is about the can't-go-back decision to continue a pregnancy. For all its politicisation, academic writing, screaming marches and protest banners, it's never a choice that other people's arguments can make clear, and the offstage/unborn child in Sheila Duncan's monologue ensures that whatever the mother decides, she can never make the right choice.
Preachy theatres bores the bejesus out of me. If you want to change people's opinions about issues, write a pamphlet or run for government. If you want to reach people's hearts and let them understand another person's life, write a story and create people who believe and reject those ideals that drive you.
A Solitary Choice isn't about its subject matter. Ruth's marriage is dull, her unexpected affair was fiery, her son needs loving and there's money and work and pets and how can anyone find the time to make a rational and clear decision.
Tamara Lee's performance brings us so close to Ruth that everyone watching has to try and make that same choice. This takes away the judgement that everyone's personal opinions or belief immediately bring to the subject and leaves us lost in her joy and pain.
With new Creative Producer Daniel Clarke, Theatre Works continues to show us that terrific theatre is made in places other than Melbourne. Duncan, Lee and director Michael Allen are based in Adelaide and this production had won accolades in their town and raves at the Edinburgh festival.
This show only ran for a few nights, so was easy to miss. The lesson is to just see whatever Theatre Works have programmed.