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TWO IS THE BEGINNING OF THE END (article first published : 2006-07-4)

Two is the Beginning of the End presented by Clare Mortimer and Neil Coppen is running on the National Arts Festival.

This psychological drama of two people, damaged by circumstance - poverty, abuse, dislocation, alienation and neglect - in fact, the whole gamut of awfulness who confront each other in the sordid claustrophobia of a Durban Point Road flat in yet another desperate attempt at reconciliation. They are bound together by their personal histories and sustained by childhood fantasies of Peter Pan and Wendy, dreams now tainted by distrust and failure.

Alternating between silent despair and violent emotion, we know their attempts at rediscovering their innocence and finding a future are doomed. We sense with fear the inevitable conclusion, yet are as powerless as they are to avert.

We are all capable, if pushed to the edge, of murder, of violence and hate. Watching their doomed relationship, we can only say, but for the grace of God go I. We dare not be complacent. Dare not judge. But we are compelled to examine the extent of our compassion - or lack of it - for others, similarly trapped in lives of hopelessness. And they are everywhere, as any walk through the streets of Grahamstown confirms.

This brilliantly written, tenderly acted drama - written by Mortimer and Coppen themselves - builds the tension moments after the beginning and sustains it with no let-up for all of its fifty-five harrowing minutes. Like all great art, the beauty is not in the material itself but in the transformation of one reality into another, and its power to engage our emotions and imaginations, and to present us with a mirror of ourselves.

Two is the Beginning of the End is running at Masonic 2. - Andrew Verster




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