Sunday, January 6, 2013
THIS IS WAR
In the current Tarragon production of This Is War, director Richard Rose has taken the delicate narrative strains of an explosive drama and rendered them with a heavy hand that intermittently discovers the strained admixture of tenderness and violence women and men at war frequently take part in. Unfortunately, the movement from past to present, so carefully sculpted into a script that interrogates the battle of the sexes within a contemporary model - international combat in Afghanistan - becomes a somewhat confused bombastic interplay of broad acting styles and a blurry sense of present and past.
Ari Cohen, Lisa Berry, Sergio Di Zio, and Ian Lake do their level best to interpret the playwright's complex vision, but they often come off as loud and intrusive in a drama - in a small space - that requires more vocal nuance than the ensemble seems to have been directed to deliver. The significance of a script that creates a highly sexualized domestic space for soldiers to inter-relate within is revealed as Moscovitch plays subtly with unspoken notions around the idea of 'don't ask/don't tell' and the oxymoronic concept of Canada's peacekeeping role in a war that claims 'innocent' lives on both sides of the ravaged coin.
As it stands, This Is War is a powerful drama worth seeing for its seering examination of the ways in which we battle each other at home and at war. In its present incarnation, the production errs on the side of explosive combat when the tenderness of passion must surely rear its head when soldiers embrace temptation and lie down - or stand up - together in a blistering fit of sexual tension.