Written by Gerald Sibleyras
Translated by Tom Stoppard
Directed by Ross Jolly
Circa Two until May 5
Concessions $18 with one hour standby.
As I walked into the doors of Circa Two, I felt horribly out of place. The two people I was sandwiched between were at least three times my age. I grew curious as to where the rest of my age group was. I peered around and noticed I was the only one in the theatre that night without wrinkles.
Think I was in for an awkward night? Dear reader, you are horribly mistaken. Heroes is set in 1959’s France, where three World War One veterans are residents of a military hospital. Every morning on their quiet terrace, Gustave, Philippe, and Henri spend their days looking over the cemetery to the poplars and beyond with dreams of escaping, no matter how worn and tattered their old bodies are.
Yes, it may be based on old people, but this play is a jewel box of life. The three veterans recall their past experiences with a certain boyish charm that lightens the story of their ambition to escape. They soon develop the ambition of having a picnic, but Gustave then goes to other extreme and calls for an expedition to Indochina. Eventually the trio come to a compromise: the poplars, just 300 meters away. Hey, it did win Best Comedy in the 2006 Oliver Awards.
No. This play has nothing to do with Heroes on television.
Lasting 90 minutes, you will be marvellously guided by Ken Blackburn, George Henare and Ray Henwood, who flawlessly bring forth the three veterans. It’s their collective charm and beautiful subtlety that creates a perfect performance. I love Circa’s close imitate nature that lets the audience shares with the actor, and this was heightened by the production. This is the very pulse of Ross Jolly’s insightful and hilarious comedy. I cannot stress just what a spectacle the acting in this production is.
For those who believe that good drama productions are ones which contain a climax, this play won’t be a favourite. Both its structure and feel mimic Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Basically, the veterans bicker all day and, well, they bicker all day. Nothing happens throughout the play. Personally, I don’t mind this style of drama – but I do know there are people out there who will not be enthralled by the mild movement in the plot.
But, hey – I love this play and perhaps you will, too. Quite simply, it is a masterpiece of comedy and of old people. Nothing wrong with that.