Dir. Martin O’Connor, Tron theatre, 4 – 6 February
The intimate Changing House of the Tron theatre transforms into a small town churchyard at the beginning of ‘Sheep.’ We hear the sound of crows, bells and strong female voices in a choir while 5 actresses in mourning clothes are huddled together on stage. Just moments later the girls get the party started. No better way to recover from a funeral than alcohol and chips&cheese, right?
This original, emotive production by Tron Young Company explores the roles of men and women in conflict as well as the propaganda and commercialisation that surrounds war and fighting. Although the cast looked at the role of Scotland in the Spanish Civil War, ‘Sheep’ doesn’t respond to one war in particular. Rather, it shows what happens when a conflict isn’t something that just happens somewhere else, but when it results in funeral after funeral until all the boys in the area have died.
There is a constant, strong juxtaposition between the narrative of the women, the girlfriends of the soldiers trying to cope with feelings of loss and uselessness, and the guys, who signed up for the army ‘just for the bants.’ The multiple flashbacks intensify this tension: we know what’s going to happen with the guys in the army and the girls at home, but all we can do is watch.
Despite its complex and contentious topic, ‘Sheep’ is a play full of humour. The cast, aged between18 and 25, perfectly show very recognizable and relatable situations while preventing to fall back into too obvious teenager stereotypes. The play gives rise to a strange combination of emotions, laughing about army jokes and the portrayal of endearing friendships while feeling gloomy and tense because of the knowledge of what it’s all going to lead to.
Situated against the guys in the army there is a strong army of girls, who have to deal with fights and tension but support each other in every way they can. Both parties, especially through the sometimes only infinitesimal collaboration between them, have conducted this play in a highly professional and affecting way.
Originally Published in the ‘Love’ Issue, 02/16.