Suzy Storck at the Gate Theatre online
The French playwright Magali Mougel’s domestic piece takes a challenging look at one family’s life under strain while raising children. Taking place in the Pyrenees, it’s set in a humid and stifling summer where the sun never sets.
The chorus begins narrating surrounded by an expanse of scattered toys. Suzy (Caoilfhionn Dunne) drinks wine, while Black’s Wonderful Life plays ironically in the background. It’s 10:37 pm on the 17th June, 2017, and Suzy is married to Hans Vasilly Kreuz (Jonah Russell). Suzy’s mother (Kate Duchêne) comes to visit, berating her daughter harshly. Suzy has locked her two sons in the room upstairs as a means to avoid responsibility. She never intended to have children, but her husband coerced her into it.
Suzy used to work in chicken farming – where she met Hans – but after losing her job she attends an interview at a mother and baby boutique. When she expresses her dislike for children her husband criticises her, thinking it is a woman’s natural responsibility. Later, Suzy becomes domesticated and falls into a routine and also depression. Hans is an overbearing bully, he doesn’t help around the house and continually degrades her, questioning her ability to work at a family boutique if she doesn’t want to be a mother. With one beat in between words, the chorus exclaims throughout the play: “for the first time in her life Suzy Storck completely lets herself go.” Suzy’s own mother thinks what her daughter is going through is just “a spot of post-natal depression.” Neither mother nor husband give her emotions and individuality any credibility.
There are evocations of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and Jean-Pierre Baro’s direction is intimate and unforgiving, where observing the unravelling story can be a little full-on. Mougel’s social drama is tough, showing us what happens when one party disrespects the other’s life choices, culminating in many dark and terrible consequences.
Photo: Gate Theatre
Suzy Storck is on the Gate Theatre’s YouTube until 30th June 2020. For further information visit the theatre’s website here.
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