I went and saw Concussion last night; It’s a joint Griffin/STC prodution, so I was expecting something off the wall. It was also written in 2008, so I was expecting something using modern language and modern thinking.
Concussion revolves around Caeser, a cop who wakes up concussed and unable to remember anything, in the care of Dr Julia. Julia addresses the audience and tells us that we shouldn’t expect a standard, regular, tragedy of a play. And it’s most certainly not.
Caesar is unable to remember who or what he is, and as he starts piecing together his life, we see the sordid lives of all the people around him, and how they connect in funny times and places. The play is about sex, violence and the pain of relationships that go wrong.
It feels a little bit like a Quentin Tarantino movie put on stage, with various subplots that aren’t related happening. The characters interact at unexpected times, and it’s not clear how the story merges and becomes a single until you start delving a little bit deeper. The past is revealed in small steps, mirroring Caesars recovery from his temporary amnesia. You get to slowly understand each character, and why they’re in the relationship they’re in. Everyone in the play is hurt by love, and they all take out their pains in a slightly different, and engaging way.
At the same time, Concussion is really funny. Lots of interludes, and experiences. Definately worth seeing is Sam Norths’ hilarious monologue of a sexually frustrated teenager. It steals the show, and even had the cast laughing along with some of the audience. Theres a little bit too much swearing and reliance on shock tactics of mock-sex on stage, which takes away from some really clever writing, but the good play still shines through.
I went away happy, and contended. The play is not a regular tragedy, as it promises not to be, and mostly, looking forward to the next play written by Ross Mueller.