Memory is a funny thing. It tends to distort previous thoughts and feelings, making us reinterpret events and see things differently. It can also be selective, remembering in full detail certain parts but not a complete whole.
I have many fond memories of D.C Jackson’s The Wall. I remember it as a very funny play full of wit, charm and energy. And yet, when I went back and read my review, I was surprised to be reminded of how flawed I had found the script. I had forgotten the soap opera-fuelled second act and how many of the threads didn’t quite gel in the end, even if the direction and design were sharp and the four performances were uniformly phenomenal (and fully deserving of last years Best Ensemble award at CATS).
So it’s with pleasure that I can report that Jackson has improved as a writer and has written a superior follow-up with The Ducky. The wit and charm are still there, and the performances are as solid, but the characters now all take much more believable journeys. There are still elements of convenience, but even those threads lead to a conclusion that works well.
Set at a swimming hole throughout a summer, five youths speak about life, expectations and responsibility. Unlike The Wall, where there was a sense of optimism and a feeling that anything can happen, The Ducky finds these characters already on a set road. They are now along for the ride rather than being in control. That choice alone leads more credibility to the script than the predecessor had, and the result is that one genuinely cares more about the fate of these characters.
Jackson is also smart in his way of structuring this as a true part of a trilogy; one need not have seen The Wall to understand what’s happening, but knowledge of that play leads one to have a fuller understanding of what is happening. It still stands well on its own, and yet makes one want to see the proposed third part soon.
The Ducky is a very entertaining play. It has great performances and a strong script. It also shows that an intelligent drama can be made for young adults without being demeaning, ignorant or overtly crass.
Filed under: Touring theatre productions |