According to director, Lois Jeary, “Theatre is a place to tell stories; to collectively feel, experience and understand; to be let in to someone else’s life for a moment- only through that does theatre enable us to understand something anew.” Game Theory takes modern day medical dilemmas and through two short plays – Membrane and Mutiny – invites the audience to be a fly on the wall in a hospital. Modern day medicine is explored in an array of fascinating angles and both plays challenge preconceptions and are incredibly thought-provoking.
Membrane, shows Doctor Paul and his patient and old friend, Halima, enter a heated debate over hymenoplasty. The newly engaged Halima wants to give her virginity to her husband and so turns to her old friend, a doctor in the relevant field, to help her repair her hymen. The pair have a passionate debate over the ethics and morality of having a friend involved in the procedure. They argue over the notion of respect and deception in her Islamic faith and the gender battle of freedom of choice and seeing her hymen as a sense of ownership.
The animated dialogue tackles every possible approach to the procedure and really digs into the way that modern life brings a whole new meaning to day-to-day life that we otherwise take for granted. Each character presents such a convincing argument that it really is up to the individual to decide where they lie in this conversation. A psychologist, Jo, gives a particularly insightful view into the way the different creatures deceive and this also adds a further dimension to the debate.
Mutiny carries similar themes where new parents, Charlie and Emma have to decide just how much control they want over their son’s life. In the director’s notes Jeary says, “Mutiny has felt like a ticking time-bomb, something that had to be staged and seen before science and society advances to such a point that the dilemma Charlie and Emma find themselves in felt out-dated.” Charlie is anxious to put his newborn son up for newborn genomic sequencing but his wife, Emma, does not want to live her life in fear of the results.
Another wonderful discussion that approaches modernity’s obsession with playing god and having complete control over every future step. Writer Odessa Celt wonders what society can possibly do with such a vast thirst for knowledge and what will happen once they have all the information they want.
Two extremely stimulating plays that will force its audiences reconsider their prejudices and open their minds to new ideas. Wonderfully written, perfectly performed and simply sensational.
Game Theory is playing at Tristan Bates Theatre until 18 April. For more information and tickets, see the Tristan Bates Theatre website. Photo by Camilla Whitehill.