Reviews to help you through the hit-or-miss loveliness that is the Calgary Fringe Festival
EYES OF THE ENEMY
July 31, 2011
If you’re looking for a way to spend 50 minutes of your life immersed in an intense, disturbing world, then I’d highly recommend you check out Eyes of the Enemy by Edmonton-based Watch Me Productions.
It’s an absolutely superb show and one of my favourites of the Festival thus far.
Eyes of the Enemy tells the story of a left-wing journalist and blogger (Chris Cook) who the government suspects has ties to a terrorist in
When the journalist either denies knowledge of the terrorist’s whereabouts (also disputing the use of the “terrorist” label), or refuses to talk, the interrogator resorts to “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including such pleasantries as de-nailing and waterboarding. While the concept of waterboarding is very familiar, seeing the actors demonstrate it on stage makes me look at the practice in a whole new way.
Cook and Hopwood demonstrate all the torture methods they portray with as much reality as possible, and that makes the show difficult to watch in parts.
It’s hard for me to express this in words, but the casting of Cook - a friendly-looking, blue-eyed blonde - as the CIA’s victim makes the show’s message have more impact. I guess it’s because he is so NOT the stereotype of those whom we imagine the CIA pursues on terrorism matters.
Eyes of the Enemy also deals with some big philosophical questions such as “What is truth?” and “How far should a government go to protect the safety and security of the whole?”
I appreciate that Cook, who also wrote the play, examines the situation from the interrogator’s perspective as well as from the journalist’s. The interrogator talks about what’s at stake if he doesn’t get the journalist to reveal the whereabouts of the guy the CIA is after: the deaths of many innocent people. Hence, the pressure he faces to get the journalist to talk.
Cook and Hopwood are to be commended for their stellar performances. Lesser actors could not have pulled off this production.
I hope this show grows and has a life beyond the Fringe, because it raises some important philosophical and political questions that have no easy answers.
Eyes of the Enemy runs again on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.