Sometimes the most astonishing seems ordinary at first glance, and it takes a moment to see the extraordinary. Such is the case with Give Me Your Love created by theatre company Ridiculusmus and part of the Big Anxiety Festival. The show is confronting, humorous and proof of just about everything that makes theatre a necessary reflection of the human condition. Though the subject is serious, “Love” is often outspokenly hilarious, some potty humour mixed in with sophisticated asides.
Zach (David Woods, co-director and co-writer) is a war veteran and PTSD victim who is in a cardboard box for the entirety of the one-hour show. He lives in perpetual fear of the outside world, hunching, crying, scurrying and cornering himself within the confines of his own fragmented mind. His mate and fellow veteran, Ieuwan (Jon Haynes, co-director and co-writer), arrives with an Ecstasy tablet after a CNN report detailing the benefits of such therapy. Offstage and unseen, his wife cajoles and empathises, offering to stand on her head when Zach feels the urge to upturn himself in his carboard box.
The technique and the technicalities in “Love” are near flawless. It can’t be easy to spend an hour in a cardboard box, folded in at least two, but Woods never falters. It’s testament to his talent that he can project what becomes an endearing person from cardboard. His performance anthropomorphises a box. Really. Haynes is equally adept, seen only through the crack of a door ajar a few centimetres by the security latch, nimble fingers trying to unlock the door, and the mystery of his mate’s illness.
Zach’s dependency on his box is a fairly obvious metaphor – we all want our own box from time to time – but as we glimpse Zach’s interior mind, we might also visit our own.
Reviewed by Olga Azar.