This powerful and timely play by Mary Vingoe was presented by Nightwood with a very strong cast that did full justice to the material.
Six characters talked about another, who never appears, but by the time the curtain fell, I fully expected him to appear. The script and the actors had all done such a terrific job of bringing him to life.
The play deals with the issues we are all forced to confront to some degree as the world comes to our doorstep. How can you really know what a stranger is like? Can even a mother who has not seen her son for six years know that he is still a good person? What if he has been forced to do terrible things? Is he guilty? Should we give him a second chance?
The play is carefully structured to mix humour with tragedy. The continuing attempts of the Interviewer (Mary Francis Moore) to get her subjects to speak with introductory phrases is frustrated most hilariously by Mebrahtu (Rais Muoi) who gets caught up in trying to convince everyone of what a good person his friend was. Amieset Zerisenai (Andrea Davis) plays the mother who believes her son is a good person, but who cannot prove it. Her frustration is palpable. Alan Ross (Ryan Hollyman) and Pamela Ross (Pamela Mala Sinha) take in the refugee, but then struggle with the conflict between their liberal consciences and their lack of understanding of the stranger. Is he dangerous or afraid? And Saul Ackman (Jason Wienberg) brings it all together as the refugee’s lawyer, who has to assume that he is innocent.
Ultimately, the play ends in tragedy. But it is gripping and thought provoking and well worth the time spent in the theatre.