EMMA Gibson’s mythic play delves into areas mostly ignored in contemporary theatre.
“Widow Bird” tells a story of a woman with healing powers derived from her own tears of suffering. It is the same mystical world that fascinates writers such as Clarissa Pinkola Estes; a world of metaphoric realities that actually shape and explain the lives of real people in real worlds.
While the play is timid in comparison to Edward Bond’s “Lear”, the notion of “seeing” is a very strong feature in Gibson’s work. As in Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and Bond’s “Lear”, the eyes removed become the means of seeing reality in its stark and awesome beauty and horror.
But the play is more than this. It explores the potential for one’s talents and powers to be appropriated by powerful manipulates for evil purposes leaving one with a stark choice to negate oneself to protect others.
Gibson’s text was self-consciously realised on the stage. With music over-powering the dialogue, inexplicable black-outs, random ambling across and through an interesting set, the production underestimated and drained the potential evocative potential of the story and its mythic value.
The strong cast, audience and writer deserved better… as did the text.