The Maintenance Room

21 Nov

I used to live with a cop. He was a good man, but like us all, he suffered his personal demons.

One Tuesday morning he came home from a night shift more quiet than usual. I asked him how the shift had been. He’d driven around in a patrol car with his partner. At about 1 am they’d got a pizza. At 3 at a late night servo they’d got Slurpees. At 4 they got a call to a house where a teenage boy had hanged himself.

He’d left a note blaming dad.

‘And what was I doing?’ my flat mate said. ‘Just driving around!’

Then, for a while, he said nothing.

‘If I’d been there,’ he said finally, ‘I know what I’d have told that kid: Things change. I know shit all about your dad. Maybe he is the biggest dickhead in the world, I don’t know. But things change. I’m not saying him. I’m saying you.’

For 20 years I’ve told that story to anyone who’ll listen.

In Gerry Greenland’s thought provoking play, two men fortuitously meet at a time in their lives when they both desperately need someone to help them revitalize their world views.

Photo by Geoff Sirmai, Sirmai Arts Marketing

Photo by Geoff Sirmai, Sirmai Arts Marketing

The charming foibles and emotional struggles of these two men are played brilliantly by Lynden Jones and Kim Knuckey. It’s wonderful to see two quality actors play their range. Directors Allan Walpole and Christine Greenough have crafted an engaging piece of theatre.

Walpole’s set design is both effective and evocative. It’s a messy maintenance room at the top of a tall building – we are delving into the grubby hidden recesses of the human heart and the stakes are sky high.

The driving symbol of this piece is maintenance – the importance of not letting our attitudes, and relationships, drift into dangerous disrepair.

It left me thinking about one of the great unremitting conflicts – that between power and fortune, between the things we can control and the things we cannot. But the front in this conflict is perpetually on the move, depending on our life circumstances. To live fully, a vibrant awareness of this movement must be maintained.

Veronica Kaye

The Maintenance Room by Gerry Greenland

at King Street Theatre til Nov 30

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