The Landlords by Jordan Prosser and Sam Burns-Warr, presented by the Wave Edge Theory (WET) Season at Belconnen Theatre, Swanson St, Belconnen, September 12 and 14, 2007, 8pm
If this were 1947 instead of 2007, this play would have been named En Attendant Godot, written by a mature age but new author, Samuel Beckett, who went on to become a central figure in 20th Century theatre. At 40 years of age, after years in the French resistance, hiding in fear of arrest and torture, his characters wait for their Godot in a bleak formless landscape, symbolising the devastation and hopelessness at the end of World War.
60 years on, at the beginning of the new century, new young writers Prosser and Burns-Warr present an equally bleak view of our world, perhaps even less hopeful than before. Their characters, named Archimedes and Jesus Christ, are holed up in a hotel foyer with a toilet each and an unreliable electricity generator, living on Cheezels and Kit-Kats, knowing (or at least believing) they are the last people left alive on earth, on their last day of life.
Prosser and Burns-Warr do not yet have the mature writing skills that Beckett had, not the poetic and powerful use of language of Waiting for Godot, but they may well be on the way. This is the purpose of the WET Season, to give new young writers a place to present their work – a purpose successfully fulfilled in The Landlords. The figure of Death as a pizza delivery boy, perhaps a parallel to the Boy who brings the message that Godot won’t come today, is quite brilliant, though the symbolism needs to be worked through more clearly.
The horrifying thing is that Vladimir and Estragon in 1947 still believed in Godot despite everything, while Archy and JC have absolutely nothing left to hope for, not even a belief in an illusory God. What have we done, this play asks, that perhaps in the quite near future will bring human society to such an uninspiring end? Drama should confront us with such questions, and I hope that Prosser and Burns-Warr continue a productive theatrical partnership.
Return to Frank McKone's Home Page