Blood Pressure

28 Aug

At times of acute stress I’m prone to foolish thoughts. Might a debilitating accident get me out of this? Could a shocking diagnosis suddenly absolve me of all responsibility? The hospital bed has a seductive simplicity.

Theatre that explores death can be escapist.

In asking ‘how are we to die?’ it can avoid an even greater question – ‘how are we to live?’

I have felt this at times, reflecting on plays about euthanasia. They frustrate me in the way that horror films often do.  They can be built on the premise that before the “monster” everything is dandy. There’s nothing to question. Life, with its myriad of possibilities, is a ‘given’.

Blood Pressure, a cleverly constructed two hander by Mark Rogers, asks us to consider the effect of sickness and death on the healthy. And director Sanja Simic draws top performances from Wade Briggs and Alexander Millwood.

There’s no greater isolation than that of the sick, and we will all die alone. But Life is a group activity, and every death diminishes us.

In this powerful piece, as one man faces the inevitability of his brother’s fate, a simple starkness gives way to a deeper insight: that none of us will experience our own death; it’s what we leave to others.

And it’s with that ‘given’ that we must determine how to live.

Veronica Kaye

Blood Pressure

til Sept 1 Old Fitzroy Theatre

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