[Live Review] The Motion of Light in Water

The Motion of Light in Water
La Boite Theatre

The title suggests little of what this play is actually about, not exploring water or light, rather exploring sexuality, taboo and inter racial marriage, topics that seem to span across decades evolving yet ever-present.

The play opens narrated to tell us how a young couple find themselves pregnant and alone in a city that forbids inter racial marriage, so on a bus they sit young Chip Delaney and Marilyn Hacker to get married and face the prospect of impending parenthood. Skip forward to 2114 where the future is all about space travel, tight-fitting clothes and lots and lots of sexual energy.

Using the vessel of Sci-fi the play explores the vastly different landscapes of sexual orientation, promiscuity, love, friendship and the complex emotions of the human condition. The past reflects on forbidden love, a time when homosexuality was taboo, the mere thought of it was kept hidden away. Whilst in the future it is all about sex, using the energy of sexual chemistry to power space ships that inevitably save the human race from extinction.

With a minimal cast and stage the play directed by Marcel Dorney is vibrant and thought-provoking. The entire cast giving stellar performances with lightning quick costume changes and the expert ability to flick back and forth between characters is flawless. At times the play is somewhat confusing as it switches back and forth through time, however the themes of sexuality are quite intriguing.

The story that is played out on the minimalistic stage in the intimate round house theatre is inspired by real people and real events. Samuel Delaney was in fact a science fiction writer, gaining the Nebula Award in 1966 for his book Babel- 17.

Through the play we see what the author may have faced in his every day life as he wrote the book, controversially choosing to make the main protagonist Rydra Wong an Asian woman. If the play is able to inspire its viewers to go out and discover the works of Delaney, then it’s not only succeeded in being a play that has entertained it has succeeded in educating as well.


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