Published by Adam
Freedom is Rick Limentani’s theatre debut having previously established himself in the world of award-winning film shorts. Parlon Film Company gave birth to Parlon Theatre Company and Freedom is their first play, touring 4 venues, culminating in the performance last night (19 Nov 2011) at the Quarterhouse in Folkestone.
Set in two locations, England and Tajikistan, a Tajik Farmer, Benham, appears to be haunted by something – a past decision he took, to lie to the men who return annually to collect their harvest from his poppy fields. His problem has driven him to drink or his drink has driven the problem. His naive, wide-eyed and eternal optimist of a devoted and loving son, Fariad, takes some time to grasp the severity of the situation and to understand the lie his father has told to protect them – and the implications for himself.
In order to make the lie seem true in time for the annual return of the Opiate men, Fariad must journey to Western Europe, to England. Through this journey, we meet Jennifer, a skittish and emotionally vulnerable character. Together and remotely with Benham, we learn more about personal drive, familiy loyalty, contextual morals, and the varied meanings of freedom.
The stage is split between England and Tajikistan with different areas portraying the different locations, the lighting highlighting the area of focus. The opening scene sees Benham and Fariad discuss their situation, Jennifer introduce herself by means of a telephone call with her unsupportive family.
Once we are mid-scene and the characters are absorbed into the dialogue and the emotion of the situation, the actors play extremely well off each other – the emotion is heart-felt, we start to bond with the characters and belief is made.
Freedom represents an opportunity for Limentani to tell a story and engage the audience, not only in the play, but in the theme – provoking you to evaluate what you would do in that situation; what would you do in facing the same moral dilemma? He’s brought together a great company, with talent, vision, and passion. Limentani’s writing is gripping, engaging and leaves you wanting more.
Limentani explained that he didn’t want the play to be ‘a play about religion’. He didn’t want the play to disappear down that rabbit hole – something I feel he was very successful with. Freedom became an observation of motivations, of selfishness and avarice, of character traits sliding between attraction and repulsion. The emotional scenes, and passages of dialogue were gripping, just sadly short-lived; I accept the argument against a 3 hour play, but there was definitely some room to allow emotional conversations to play out to what feels like a naturally longer period.
Overall, Freedom was an amazing debut from an exciting young company. I look forward to seeing the next tour.