FIVE characters meet for dinner at the home of husband and wife, Imre (Peter Cook) and Sarah (Kate Hosking) to celebrate the acceptance for publication of a manuscript that Imre has been working on for eight years.
Imre’s book documents the experiences of his mother and grandmother in Budapest between 1938 and 1956, during Nazi and Russian occupation. Sarah is sceptical of Imre’s mother Eva’s (Geraldine Turner) stories which don’t align with historical records. Imre seeks to encourage empathy and understanding of families fleeing war – an aim he shares with playwright, Tom Davis.
Most of the action takes place in a Melbourne home in 2010. Other dinner guests are Eva’s oldest friends which whom she shared childhood experience in Budapest, Katalin (Zsuszi Soboslay) and Jozef (PJ Williams).
The height and depth of the Street Theatre are used to great effect in scenes where memories are played out, with each actor taking on multiple roles. Truth and lies mingle in the grey area of memory, trauma and shame. As the whole truth unravels, it becomes clear that it is in no-one’s best interest to tell it.
“Chain Bridge” raised some big questions and ideas. However, at the end of the play, the main characters remained essentially unchanged. While the historical scenes were vivid and meticulously crafted, the lack of strong character arc in the contemporary story stifled potential for true audience empathy.