By Laurie Scarborough
Terence Makapan, SBAM newbie and recent graduate of the Waterfront Theatre School, has written and directed his second play, Jack & Jane, following a successful season at the Cape Town Fringe Festival last year with Kinders van die Wind.
His new offering, which ran at the Galloway Theatre from 27-29 October, tackled the topic of marriage in the modern age. When Jack proposes a new kind of marriage to Jane, a 21-year-old woman he has just met at an art gallery, she doesn’t know how to respond. Jack starts his proposal by suggesting they purchase a couch together, a couch that Jane informs him was the location of a gruesome murder.
After this unusual introduction, Jack, then outlines what he believes to be the perfect marriage: an open marriage that forces absolute honesty, at all costs, and observes a very particular list of rules.
Jane is intrigued and she enters into the marriage, despite trepidation from friends and family. But four years later, the marriage is falling apart. Maybe honesty isn’t the answer to a successful marriage. Jack’s idealistic concept of marriage is dysfunctional in reality and his once charming honesty is now tinged with psychopathy. He has become belligerent and enjoys playing mind games with Jane, in order to see how she will react. Meanwhile, Jane is tired and sad, and must make the decision to make a “statistic” of herself and Jack by choosing the healthiest life for herself.
The concept of the piece was very interesting and Ally White’s portrayal of Jane, and Llewellyn van der Berg’s Jack were very convincing, and they both embodied their characters. The depiction of power-play in a marriage, particularly an unhealthy marriage, was also suitably cynical and insidious.
I thought there were long scenes that could have benefitted from more movement on stage – there were often lengthy dialogue scenes where the two characters were standing opposite each other for too long without anything else happening on stage. A more creative use of space could have drawn some attention to the scene, however this notwithstanding, I thought the play was an ambitious depiction of the naivety of idealism and the idea of the “perfect relationship”.
We can’t wait to see what Terence does next!