Brother Daniel

26 Sep

How can we make our ideals become reality? It’s one of the great human dilemmas.

Simone Weil wrote that imaginary good is easy. While our ideas remain in our head, they’re obvious and unproblematic; simple, smooth and flawless. They haven’t yet had to face the roughness, the wild unpredictability, of the external world.

And, in a sense, perhaps all attempts to bring our ideals into fruition are acts of violence. We are, after all, trying to make the world fit our pre-ordained pattern. There’s a type of brutality to it. Like taking the gentle fractal intricacy of a snow flake and forcing it into a round hole. (Like those made by bullets.)

James Balian’s Brother Daniel is a fascinating and intriguing exploration of the complexity and challenge of political action. Director Travis Green presents the tale with tension and humour, and the cast produce some good performances.

Photo by Mark Banks

Photo by Mark Banks

Daniel, played by Adam Hatzimanolis, is being tortured by representatives of a repressive regime, the very regime that twenty years earlier he helped bring to power. Lucinda, played by Mel Dodge, is a young lawyer desperate to help him. She’s a member of a growing student movement, inspired by both the idealism of the earlier revolution and its actual impact. Women didn’t become lawyers in the old days, she reminds Daniel. But Daniel is deeply disillusioned, and not just because of the electrodes. Violence begets violence, but there’s more; the dreadful discordance between dreams and reality.

This is sophisticated theatre. The pleasure and depth of the play is that it offers no simple reading. It reminds us political action is utterly necessary, but won’t tell us how.

Perhaps any such crude certainty would only lay the seeds for future violence? Perhaps we must find our own way, gently.

Veronica Kaye


Brother Daniel by James Balian

TAP Gallery til Oct 5

One Response to “Brother Daniel”

  1. gail nagel October 7, 2014 at 1:24 am #

    Fantastic theatre – great direction, wonderful acting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: