Saturday, 22 February 2014
Second Hands – Fringe World (22 February 2014)
Okay, yes, this is pretty twisted and clearly takes a hug swipe at Western consumerism, the exploitation of the third world, and the hollowness of vulgar status symbols. There is plenty of talk about families from places such as China and India donating their children’s hands so that they may live a better life. The quality of hands and how much they cost is also a point of discussion and conflict.
What I didn’t get though was the context of how this came to be – why it was that hands were coveted. How an industry, and a seemingly legal one at that, had grown up around this. How there seemed to be mass acceptance and that people with their original hands were somehow inferior. It just was. Yet this seemed ripe for exploration especially when there is talk about the ethics of what can only be described as a reprehensible business. Sure, I get that it’s an allegory but it didn’t seem rooted in anything believable that would have made it far more potent.
The thread that did interest me most was Patrice’s reaction to the request for the smaller hands. I had been waiting for opposition, for someone to decry the absurdity and cruelty of it all and here are the inklings of it. There is genuine disgust and later the character is speechless when admonishing the younger lover who points out they are readily available for sale in her very store. The hypocrisy bites hard.
This is taken further when Patrice (played by Georgia King) tells the story about a murder only a few streets away from where she lives with her philandering lover. The conclusion of that tale is truly shocking and her statement that “we’re all sick” really resonates. This is the end of that story strand and the penultimate scene of the play yet it felt more like a beginning.
It’s an uncomfortable tale, deliberately so, and certainly shocked the audience I was with. It makes its point in no uncertain terms but I was left with a sense that there is far more to explore in this dark, twisted world Jeffrey Jay Fowler has created.
Stars Austin Castiglione, Holly Garvey, Georgia King, Renee Newman-Storen and Nick Maclaine.