Warheads at Park Theatre
There is nothing glamorous about going to war; risks are taken, bonds are broken, lives are lost and traumas remain. It is not a decision taken lightly, so when Miles (Taz Skylar) signs up for the army in a mere bid to impress fiancée Tena (Klariza Clayton), alarm bells ring as to the soundness of his decision-making capabilities. But when Miles ends up in therapy following the acquisition of PTSD, measures must be taken and denials overcome.
Skylar makes his professional debut with Warheads, an intimate and timeless portrayal of the psychological impacts that combat has on humanity, especially on the youth, who may not be as well equipped to deal with its consequences as some older and more experienced generations. Delving into PTSD as a silent illness that urgently needs attention, the play looks at the condition as more than just the repercussions of a stressful event; Miles’s hallucinations, panic attacks and personality disorder are only a handful of symptoms, which he faces when opening up to his therapist about the past.
The set, heavily dominated by wooden crates that the performers engage with to perform a wide array of functions, be it shields during battle, bedroom or bar furnishings, bodes well with the narrative the creators wish to tell, without it seeming as if the team has fallen short of props. The sound design, oscillating between war cries and oneiric tracks, fits perfectly with the timeline of flashbacks and flash-forwards surrounding the protagonist’s uncertain and unstable mind.
Skylar is a force majeure as Miles, his performance utterly gripping, bone-chilling and heart-stopping, right until the very end. He is a method actor who lives and breathes his craft, completely credible doing so. The suffering he endures when confronting the disorder that lies ahead of him, an ailment now very much a part of his identity, is a voyage felt by all who bear witness to his gruelling journey.
Photo: Marcus Kartal
Warheads is at Park Theatre from 15th August until 7th September 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.