“The Last of this We’ll Hear” directed and written by Christopher Kestell lasts roughly forty minutes, but provides a vastly unique and unnerving method of spending an afternoon. The audience were shown into the Players Theatre whereupon they found a small cupcake on every seat in the theatre. On the stage, a large stack of cardboard boxes towered and a thick layer of silence filled the air.
Then a processed recording of a voice began to loop; saying to move the boxes. It proceeded to get increasingly angrier until a member of the audience had to move the stack.
It was then revealed that a man (Neil Handly) was standing hidden with his back to the audience, behind the boxes.
After turning and breaking the silence, he spun into a spontaneous dance routine before freezing once more. As the stage fell into darkness and all music ceased, he produced a torch and shone it at the audience demanding what they knew about the nature of dust. At one instance, he even sat alongside an individual and shone the light into their face, repeating his question.
In another sequence, he fell flat to the ground and reached up, as classical music played in the background. As recorded sentences were sporadically played, the protagonist shouted and hurled abuse up towards the tech box. It created the sense of a battle being waged.
A second man (Cameron Brady) wearing a lab coat then entered the stage carrying a table and chair. The sense of a therapist speaking to his patient was then created, as they both were then seated. However, the theme of the protagonist being ignored by the higher power was continued as the therapist continuously ignored his complaints about his exhaustion and desire to end life. This resulted in the two characters shouting random sentences simultaneously.
Following this, there was a bizarre sequence where the protagonist fell to the ground. The other man went behind a screen and returned with a belt. After agonised screaming and beating the other man, he was dragged and strapped to the table. As the audience watched with baited breath in anticipation of what was to come next, the protagonist stopped and strode to face them.
He openly declared how “it was all a bit much” and appeared to enter into an argument with a man in the audience. He contested the story and plot choice before hoisting him unto the stage. It was then apparent that this was the writer and director. The protagonist then returned with a string of lights and spread them about the stage.
He looped it around the director’s neck before climbing up the ladder at the wall to the tech box. Screaming and banging on the door to let him in, he eventually reached through the window and plugged in the lights.
In the final scene, the dark stage was cast in the dim amber glow of the lights illuminating on the character still strapped down to the table, and the director seated on the ground with his eyes cast down. As the main character stood still in the centre of the stage, placards were held up stating “please leave now” and “get out”. The audience then filed out with a clinging feeling of dread and unease.
Despite not having a clear meaning or a plot line, this avant-garde play was a highly memorable, and also immensely enjoyable. It brought up numerous depictions from existentialism, a descent into madness, to creative differences between those involved in theatre.