Aeonian is a play about a young couple’s unintentional pregnancy, with the strange overtones of a soul being reborn. Though it starts promisingly, there are several flaws in this production. But let’s start with the positives.
Mistral (Marta Carvalho) is a young dancer, about to embark on her dream career, when she accidentally falls pregnant by Warren (Davey Seagle), her boyfriend. They are watched over by a mysterious presence (Kat Boart), at first the soul of Warren’s mother, and later, of Imogen, their soon-to-be-born child.
Boart is immediately compelling, though the opening monologue is largely scattered and random. Regardless, she has a presence on stage. Similarly, the much maligned Mistral is executed well by Carvalho. She moves beautifully.
Despite these qualities, there are several issues with Aeonian. Firstly, the treatment of Mistral is rather upsetting. She gives up her career for the unborn child, for reasons that don’t seem clear – she is against the pregnancy throughout, says it is for Warren that she does it (though he is generally distant and disinterested in her). In general, Warren is underdeveloped as a character.
His lashes of anger appear entirely unmotivated by anything reasonable, making him a rather inaccessible character. The mother/child “ghost” continually criticises and shames Mistral, calling her worthless and suggesting that her imminent rebirth is outside of Mistral’s control. She continues to be thoroughly against Mistral and in love with her son/father Warren, even later as a grown woman. Imogen’s antipathy for Mistral doesn’t seem founded, and the love for Warren also doesn’t make sense – he does very little, is thoroughly un-empathetic towards Mistral, and yet she is continually blamed (for what? It’s unclear).
Mistral continues to spiral, Warren continues to say and do very little, and Imogen continues to patronise Mistral. The topics under discussion are important, but the execution is occasionally quite uncomfortable. It’s unclear, ultimately, what the message should be from Aeonian – Mistral is somehow robbed of choice in a grander plan, and then pays for it throughout. It’s a tragedy that isn’t well signposted.
Writer and director Vesna Hauschild has tried to tackle some very difficult subjects and is to be commended for the good intentions. With some well-directed and designed scenes, there are moments of real enjoyment in Aeonian.
However, the overarching message is a little confused, and I felt a little uncomfortable with some of the implications. Watch with an open mind, but know that it won’t be a straightforward hour of your life.
Review by Christina Care Calgaro
One act play (60 min running time) explores the struggles and challenges of a modern, high-achieving couple in their twenties in relation to parenthood, careerism and self-realization in realistic ways. On the other hand, it questions the existence of unconditional, true, everlasting love and fatality of souls. The audiences follow Mistral (dancer from Portugal) and Warren (British post grad student of architecture), who are expecting an unwanted and unplanned baby and cross the paths with a very old soul, Imogen, who has a special agenda. She embodies the fetus of pregnant Mistral and is later on born as their daughter … only for Mistral to discover that it can take (more than) a lifetime to fulfil or destroy one’s dreams.
Aeonian explores universal themes such as life, death, sex, jealousy, hope, regret and love. It is suitable for all profiles of people, old enough to understand sexual relationships. Sparky, witty dialogue and wordplay are balanced with constant dramatic tension and sharp one-liners. The play breaks stereotypes and gives spectators the chance to engage and expand their horizons, make their own mind on the subject of motherhood, fatherhood, current soc-political situation, reincarnation, love and also the dynamics of modern intimate relationships.
DIRECTOR Vesna Hauschild
MOVEMENT DIRECTOR Kat Boart
IMOGEN Kat Boart
MISTRAL Marta Carvalho
WARREN Matt Boland
Peter Penko, Slovenia
Filipe Damiao, Portugal
VIXEN THEATRE COMPANY
by AWARD-WINNING PLAYWRIGHT VESNA HAUSCHILD
ETCETERA THEATRE, CAMDEN TOWN, NW17BU
6, 7, 8, 9, 10 JUNE 2017 @7.30pm
11 JUNE 2017 @6.30 pm