Save + Quit – The New Theatre – Review by Cal Byrne
The New Theatre – January 08 – 20, 2018 – Time: 7.30pm
Written by Sophia Leuner, Directed by Billie de Buitlear
One of the more frustrating aspects of this whole life thing is our inability to change the course of its proceedings. No matter how much we may think we’ve done wrong, may wish to go back and change the course of time, we are forever wedded to the path we are on.
Sophia Leuner explores this and various other frustrations of modern life in the now well-travelled ‘Save + Quit’. It’s a two parter – the first half set in London, and the second Dublin – told largely through non-intersecting monologues. The first halves’ two characters meet only through a chance encounter; while the second’s are in a relationship-of-sorts but rarely communicate. The result is a fascinating investigation into the conflict between our inner and outer selves, and the dysfunction this can create.
Leuner’s characters, whether they be the idealistic new teacher or the frustrated bar worker, are never sure of themselves. They’re caught up in an endless stream of equivocation and clarifications, constantly having to check back on themselves. This makes Save + Quit a demanding task for its actors but one which they take to admirably. It helps that the writing is so humorous and intelligent, which makes this play easy to follow despite its sometimes non-conventional flow.
This would be achievement enough for anyone but it’s Save + Quit’s emotional intensity that is Leuner’s real masterstroke. Both halves are rounded-off in differently satisfying fashions but equally linger in the mind in their own way. Any writer citing Joyce as a major influence is always going to come with a certain amount of expectation, but Leuner does well to justify the reference. The only real surprise is that she isn’t a Dubliner herself.