Borderline, at the Lion and Unicorn
What is witness?
Well, witnessing something means seeing it.
Just that, just seeing it?
Well, I suppose it means seeing it in a special way.
Word association time – I say “witness” you say . . .
Good – “testimony”. So here’s what I’m getting at. Witnessing something isn’t just seeing. It’s seeing something that changes you; seeing something that makes you behave differently in future –
Seeing something that makes you testify?
Exactly! Whether you’re testifying in court that you witnessed a crime, or testifying in church that you witnessed some divine glory, witness causes testimony. To witness something is not just to see it, it’s to be changed by it.
Although the words “witness” and “testimony” don’t appear in Borderline, the concepts are woven right through it.
This is a play about people who are changed by what they have experienced, inviting you to share their experiences and be changed in turn.
The cast puts in remarkable performances representing a range of characters and experiences. The emotional intensity hits from the very beginning and doesn’t let up.
The play is structurally superb too – that much emotion could easily become overwhelming is it wasn’t leavened with moments of humour and, more surprisingly, a few vignettes which serve as much as mysteries or intellectual puzzles as emotional revelations.
I suppose in a way this isn’t a very good review – the play is lean and taught and the few moments I thought where miss-steps later turned out to be integral parts of the structure – experiences I was reaching back for in some of the later vignettes. There are no obvious gaps, nothing that really needs tweaking. Perhaps, in a way, that a sign of the genius of this play – it’s so “whole” and universal that even miss-steps or mistakes somehow enrich it and thus disappear.
So if this isn’t a very good review, hopefully it serves better as a recommendation – go and see this play – witness it, and see if you’re not moved to your own testimony.