Women as they really are

Issue 

Women as they really are

Jigsaws
By Jennifer Rogers
Directed by Louise Luccarini
New Theatre, Sydney
Friday-Sunday until October 1
Reviewed by Betty Downey and Pip Hinman

Jigsaws is about five women, belonging to three generations of the same family, who are in Perth together over the summer holiday season. The men are outside enjoying a game of cricket.

The play is both funny and sad. Rogers' main theme is about sexuality, or rather, finding the freedom to express it. Alex (Tasma Walton), who thinks she is a lesbian, wants to come out to her mother. Silvia (Patricia East), Alex's aunt, the only person Alex thinks she can get on side, is too preoccupied with her own marital troubles, as is Monica, Alex's straight-laced sister. Meanwhile Emma (brilliantly performed by Betty Millis), Alex's grandmother, has her own battles as she gears up to fight being written off as "old" and banished to a home.

The script is clever, although Alex's occasional rather didactic speeches seemed a little over the top, and the acting excellent; there are many laughter- and thought-provoking lines. While the characters, at times, verged on being a little stereotyped — the uptight, straight-laced mother and sister, the feminist, Alex, who made it through the glass ceiling, and the wiley aunt — Rogers has managed to bring to life, and so demystify, some of the fears and insecurities which surround relationships and sexuality. But, overwhelmingly, this is an optimistic play.

After an absence of several months, it was pleasant to be back in the friendly atmosphere of the "New" and to enjoy the excellent bar service.