Are We Awake? | Review

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Words || Georgia Drinan

Red Line Productions’ dramatic and emotional new play, ‘Are We Awake?,’ written by Charles O’Grady and Directed by Sean Hawkins is unequivocally a masterpiece. Hard-hitting, lucid and spectacularly well-performed, ‘Are We Awake,’ is at times hilariously witty and at other times though provoking and intensely moving.

The play tells the story of a young couple waking up to their day. Endymion (Aleks Mikić) is preparing to move to Melbourne for a job and is facing the reality of leaving behind his boyfriend Hypnos, (Daniel Monks) who is chronically ill. As the two go about their morning and their preparation for Endymion’s departure, the audience gains an insight into the way their lives have been impacted by Hypnos’ illness, and the feelings surrounding their upcoming separation. The play is a deeply emotional and strikingly real portrayal of the unfairness of life and the realities of loving somebody with a disability- through the morning we see Hypnos struggling with his body as it spasms and Endymion’s fear over leaving him alone, as well as their anguish that neither of them really feel wholly understood by the other. Actor Daniel Monks’ portrayal of Hypnos was a charged and flawless depiction of the realities of being queer and disabled at a young age- Hypnos’ loneliness and frustration with his body felt so incredibly real.

Are We Awake?’ was remarkably intimate; at times I felt almost voyeuristic, gazing through the window to see a couple in one of their most private moments, with their myriad of complex emotions laid bare. It was confronting, and raw, and beautifully honest; a spectacularly visceral slice of life which left the audience with a feeling of closeness and attachment to the characters that was doubly remarkably on considering the shortness of the play- ‘Are We Awake?’ only runs for around 40 minutes and yet manages to bring with it such a deep sense of realism and well-roundedness to both of the characters. The thing I really loved about the depiction of the characters in ‘Are We Awake?’ was the even-handedness of their perspectives. The audience was given a chance to see the raw, unfiltered emotions of both characters and empathise with how their situation made both of them react in different ways.

The play explored the line between reality and dreaming with a gorgeous depiction of Hypnos’ narcolepsy- the subtlety of the lighting and the visually compelling use of shadows created a strange and unfamiliar setting for Hypnos’ dreams, which belied his hidden insecurities and desires. The use of the space was extremely innovative, with all aspects of the production tying together to create a dynamic piece of independent theatre. This show proves that we can expect brilliant things from up-and-coming queer writer Charles O’Grady and director Sean Hawkins in the future.

Event Dates: 28 Feb 2017 – 11 March 2017

Event Times:  Tuesday – Saturday at 6.30 pm and Sunday at 4.30pm.

Venue: The Old Fitz, 129 Dowling St, Sydney, Australia 2011

Running time: 40 minutes no interval

Ticket Prices: $25.00