What happens after we die? We’ve all probably asked ourselves this from time to time, but only Kieran Gould-Dowen decided to make a play about it. Take A Seat is set in a courthouse waiting room, where seven confused and frightened people await the ultimate decision on their fate. Is there a judging or a compassionate God on the other side of the door? Is there even an afterlife? Where exactly are they? And most importantly, what’s going to happen next?
Fear and doubt soon materialize into conversation (and questions, lots of questions). But by seeking solace in companionship, the strangers soon come to realize that not all of them hold the same ideas about life and death, right and wrong and other timeless dilemmas. The group portrays characters that range from a desolate father to a resentful soldier and a lonely old lady. Ideas clash, emotions boil. And despite having crossed the portal between life and death, these characters seem definitely stuck. (After all, is there anything worse than being stuck in a waiting room?) Could the answer to all their problems lie in the very ideas that they so vehemently seek to contend?
Take A Seat is a play about tolerance, understanding and peace. Today’s socio-political climate has us all standing on edge. Constant social media outrages only prove that we are all too quick to become judges; when we cannot begin to fathom half of the situations that we so quickly denounce. In Take A Seat, Gould-Dowen states that peace (both inner and outer) can only be reached when we come to terms (between us and with ourselves).
The play takes place in The Buttefly Club, a hidden, intimate and kitsch little theatre at the end of Carson Place alley off Little Collins Street. The small space is fitting to the very personal tone of the play and lets the audience really capture the feelings of the talented cast. The stage is decorated only with a bunch of chairs and a piano that is sometimes played by one of the characters to provide background ambiance music. Honestly, it needs nothing else. The actors fill the space perfectly.
So come, take a seat and listen to seven life stories. You might be surprised about how much they have to tell you about your own.
Lourdes Zamanillo is a Mexican journalist who recently moved to Australia to study a Master’s in Sustainable Tourism. She loves words, travelling, and (above all) feeling surprised.
Take A Seat runs 25 January–29 January 2017 at The Butterfly Club. Buy tickets now.