Someone who’ll watch over me is a brilliant take on a deeply tragic and controversial subject.
Performed in a stark set with ominous writings on the walls and a single light bulb hanging in the middle of the stage, this play refuses to mellow the harrowing experience of being a hostage in a wracked war-torn land for its audience.
The play delves into the murky politics of nationalistic fervor, religious fanaticism and materialism – Adam and Edward discuss the ethics of war photography early in the play – but it never loses sight of the universal pathos as well as banality of human suffering.
The actors deliver stellar performances, immersing the characters into the intense physicality of deliberate madness. There is a lot of screaming, stomping, howling, sobbing and even on-stage push-ups, but that is not the truly mad bit. That comes much later with the imaginary cars and drinks and letters – cuttingly clever as performance blurs within performance but deeply moving at that same time as the collective imagination of the characters becomes a bulwark against the horror of their reality.
The only thing that held back the play was the script, which sometimes dragged out scenes that could have been more powerful with brevity. The dialogue is still quite pithy and there are certainly moments of complete hilarity.
The biggest achievement of the play is perhaps the complete absence of “the enemy” that makes it all the more chilling and forces the three men to enact their lives in complete isolation.
Do go and watch this for a taste of contemporary tragedy in all its absurdity and pathos. This production successfully manages to bring to life the unrelenting self-interrogations, claustrophobia and despair of the imprisoned, desolate existence of hostages.