Drama Old but not dead

Old but not dead

Power duo James Cairns and Taryn Bennett star alongside Brendan Grealy in this production of the Ernest Hemingway classic, The Old Man and The Sea. The story recounts the perils of a fisherman Santiago (Grealy) on his voyage to break 84 days without a catch. His young, keen apprentice Manolin (Bennett) is forbidden by his parents to accompany Santiago, whose luck they believe has run out.

Brendan Grealy, and Taryn Bennett perform in The Old Man and The Sea at Glennie Hall, Grahamstown, 02 July 2015, at the 2015 National Arts Festival. The play is adapted from the novel by Ernest Hemingway. Photo: CuePix / Jane Berg.

Brendan Grealy, and Taryn Bennett perform in The Old Man and The Sea at Glennie Hall, Grahamstown, 02 July 2015, at the 2015 National Arts Festival. The play is adapted from the novel by Ernest Hemingway. Photo: CuePix / Jane Berg.

Cutting between Santiago’s journey, we hear some gossip and story-telling from the village folk. The scenes are beautifully transitioned with casted shadows displaying figures of sea creatures (some as though viewed through the undulating ocean water), oceanscapes and silhouettes of the hut-lined fishing village.

Director Jenine Collocott ensured the intonation of the Spanish-accented delivery is seamless. Santiago and Manolin sport brown leather woven sandals, linen pants and woollen beanies. This, along with the simple props and intermittent sounds of an ebbing ocean, give a sense of village life by the sea.

Grealy’s performance during the Old Man’s battle with the large marlin he finally baits after two days is passionately dramatized. As Santiago battles against the unseen force in a state of dehydration and starvation, Hemingway’s commentary on human struggle and resilience is allowed to emerge.

Santiago and Manolin’s friendship, which forms the nub of the action, is inspiring. The Old Man and the Sea is a melancholy but ultimately rewarding fable for both young and old.

Nadine Clarke 
Cue guest writer

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