Acedian Pirates by Jay Taylor at Theatre 503


Acedia, from the Greek akēdia, a state of listlessness or torpor, of not caring or not being concerned. In Jay Taylor’s piece we are confronted with a group of soldiers in a conflict that seems to have little point. Few, however, seem to be doing anything to stop it. These acedian pirates seem only to be perpetuating it.

Beautifully set, as always at Theatre 503, we find ourselves in a war-torn lighthouse, where the soldiers involved in ‘intelligence’ are holed up during the ongoing conflict to defend the ‘capital state’. It is a mixed group of characters but the main pivot is Jacob. In the top room of the lighthouse, a female, described as the moon, is being held captive by the son of the general of the army. Any chance of these soldiers returning home seems to be dependent on her.

Jacob, is young, thoughtful and clearly different from the others. He was played excellently by Cavan Clarke with his natural Northern Irish accent, a physical example of his difference. He showed a huge emotional range in this piece and his performance was definitely the highlight.

The writing in the piece, however seemed clichéd at times in relation to the general conversation between some of the characters. The ‘prophecy’ was thrown into the narrative randomly, and there was a lack of overall cohesion to the narrative elements. Eventually Jacob carries out a ‘terrible’ act in defiance against his superiors but this is ultimately a manifestation of his own ‘acedia’.

There are clear themes running throughout the piece about the futility of war and war becoming piracy, with the plundering of resources, and rape. Whilst at the same time it looks at the issues of duty and following orders. Theses themes were not new, but it was an interesting attempt to highlight them.

WIGS 2/5


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