Honour, the play by Joanna Murray-Smith brings into question what does honour really mean after 32 years of marriage when one party decides to abruptly leave. The lead female character shares the same name as the play. An honourable title perhaps to her strength of character.
We first meet George who is deciding on how to begin his opening sentence for the research article being published about his career and fame. He is about to meet Claudia the young attractive researcher to discuss himself. His self-inflated ego sets the scene for how his character later develops in the play.
Honour we discover sacrificed her own budding career in writing once she married George. This is discussed while she is being interviewed about how married life is with George and always being in the background when she could have had an equally successful career.
The struggle of how women place themselves in society is a strong theme throughout this play. Mother, daughter and mistress all trying to find where they want to belong. All of them at some point during the play envying the other, whereas in reality none of them is actually in a place worth envying.
The dignified grace in which Honour conducts herself through this play makes this painful process easier to watch. These parts often plunge into the woman scorned revenge role. It takes exceptional writing to avoid this and transform Honour into an empowered woman. This takes place as the play progresses by her change in colourful clothes, earrings and makeup.
The audience’s response to some of the scenes was a testament to how well written and directed this play has been. Gasps and dislike of the use of the ‘f’ word, which at times is prolific in the angrier scenes enhanced the atmosphere. Once you engage an audience to this level you have captured a real emotional connection.
Many couples go through similar mid-life crisis events. Marriage goes stale and one or another seeks passion in another’s arms. Murray-Smiths play is a no holds barred account of how destructive this can be to a comfortable and seemingly normal couple.
As always it is a pleasure to review in the Chesil Theatre. This smaller venue gave a more intimate experience to this emotionally fuelled journey through this couples marriage break up and personal life and at times I felt like an intruder.
Many performances have now sold out.
Running from 17-24 November 2018