POWERFUL MACHINES (2008)
Powerful Machines is a new play about sex, power, and semtex.
Roddy, an Irishman, lives alone in a suburb of London in the mid 1990s,
nursing his wounds and building machines for his own strange purposes.
Trace, an English night-club hostess, joins him for a session of Sunday
evening bondage. They are rudely interrupted by Clanger, another
Irishman, agitated and disheveled, who knows too much about
Roddy’s past and has a demand that will jolt Roddy out of his
amnesiac purgatory and bring him back shockingly into the now.
A play of the clash between genders, about control and desire, about
the struggle to let go of the past, it is bound to keep audiences
thinking long after the powerful machines have stopped running.
Starring Thomas Farrell, Rachel Rath and Steve Gunn
Those Powerful Machines
The physically crippled Roddy (Thomas Farrell) and the emotionally
damaged Trace (Rachel Rath) arrange for a tryst in a poky flat that
will allow both to retain control over their sexual desires, and also
exorcise demons from the past. On he verge of consummation, they are
interrupted by Clanger (Steve Gunn), an old associate of
Roddy’s, who has urgent need of his bomb making expertise.
Set in London in the mid-1990s, Arnold Thomas Fanning’s drama
is a compellingly poignant exploration of the consequences of sexual
and psychological violence. The director, Graham Cantwell, fosters a
claustrophobic mood, with Farrell setting the tone vividly, a study in
brooding menace despite his physical infirmity. It takes a combination
of Rath’s quaint Englishness and Gunn’s amiable
sloppiness, however, to counterbalance the intensity; otherwise the
production could very easily tip over into parody. Pitted with
pitch-black humour, this ostensibly raw scream of frustrated passion
is, in fact, a tender meditation on whether the head or the heart is
the most powerful machine we possess.
The Sunday Times
(Click to enlarge)
with his machine
Directed by Graham Cantwell
Written by Arnold Thomas Fanning
Produced by Yvonne Ussher and Geraldine McAlinden