|Damon Baudin and Christopher Samuel Carrol in "Smokescreen"
Directed by Christopher Samuel Carroll
Christopher Samuel Carroll and Damon Baudin
design by Antony Hateley.
Bare Witness Theatre Co.
Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre 2nd – 5th February
night performance reviewed by Bill Stephens
It was an auspicious
choice by The Q to present Christopher Samuel Carroll’s “Smokescreen” as the
inaugural presentation in its “Q The Locals” program which aims to provide a
pathway for theatre creatives in the region by providing a platform for new,
local, professional work.
trained professional actor, director and writer, Christopher Samuel Carroll has
established his own theatre company, Bare Witness Theatre, in the region, for
which he has devised a series of solo shows, while maintaining his professional
career as an actor performing in productions for other professional regional
play, “Smokescreen”, which is being premiered in the Q as part of the
initiative, Carroll has teamed with former Canberra actor, Damon Baudin, who is
in his final year of a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) at the Victorian College
of the Arts.
The play is
essentially a diatribe between two smart and charismatic men; both used
controlling the message, who vie for territory, within their own relationship,
in their efforts to gain superiority over the other.
|Damon Baudin and Christopher Samuel Carroll in "Smokescreen"
a young advertising executive supremely confident of his ability to convince
the company executive, played by Carroll, that he has the knowledge and skills
to move Carroll’s company to the next level. In doing so he reveals an encyclopaedic
knowledge of strategies utilised by conglomerates to manipulate human behaviour.
the younger man’s intellectual brilliance, the company executive counters with his
own arguments, but in the process discovers himself questioning his own moral
The play is
set in America, 45 years ago, and the meeting takes place in an airport
business lounge, suggested by simple, superbly lit setting consisting of a
table, two chairs, and a bar. The company executive smokes incessantly,
creating a smoky, moody atmosphere.
is dense, detailed, impressively researched and delivered brilliantly by the
two actors in a series of long monologues punctuated by short staccato
exchanges. Carroll’s direction is intelligent, appropriate, with just enough
movement from the two protagonists to keep the audience engaged.
despite the brilliance of the writing and the bravura performances of both
actors, with a running time of around one hour and 45 minutes without an
interval, “Smokescreen” would benefit from some judicious cutting to prevent
threatened brain-fag bought on by trying to absorb the admirably researched
detail revealed in the complex, though never-the-less interesting arguments.
Photos by Cathy Breen
This review also appears in AUSTRALIAN ARTS REVIEW www.artsreview.com.au