Lauren (Jane Barry) and Daz (Bradley Trudgett) have a weekend 'love' affair in the seaside town of Scarborough. At first, they seem like a regular couple, but as the conversation evolves in their seaside apartment, there are great risks and consequences of this relationships going public.
We find out that Daz is merely a boy, 15 years old in fact, and on Saturday night he will finally and legally be allowed to have sex. However, Lauren is his Physical Education teacher and twice his age and has a boyfriend who is much older. Why is this weekend so exciting for her?
As the weekend progresses, many deals and negotiations take place between the 'child' and the 'adult' and in many ways Daz is the adult and Lauren the child. Daz is a confident young lad excited about the relationship and willing to do anything for Lauren, even go public with the relationship – in fact, he doesn't even realise the consequences. Lauren is beyond paranoid and cannot even exit the bedroom to enjoy the seaside for fear she may bump into a school colleague or the Principal. She knows the consequences of 'losing her job' but is in denial that her current actions are perceived by Western society as criminal.
Lauren has birthday gifts for Daz and after a weekend of sex, and emotional manipulation dumps him. Daz is devastated, after declaring his love for Lauren and thoughts of marriage. However, Lauren is already getting married to her 'boyfriend' 17 years senior, who was her school swimming coach when she was 15 years old.
Here is where we discover the 'cycle of abuse' and the wheel of power and control. Who is the perpetrator? Who is the victim? Lover grooms their muse. Lauren won't leave her coach – she is entrapped in the cycle, and repeats the behaviour she knows to be normal.
Was Daz birthday gift just to groom him?
Did Lauren just want sex?
Should Daz tell someone about what has happened?
Is Lauren a paedophile?
Will Daz be a paedophile as a result of this relationship?
In the second act ,we meet another couple Aiden (Timothy Smith) and Beth (Isabelle Ford) who are also away for the weekend in Scarborough. The gender roles are reversed and the dialogue is exactly the same as the first act.
I'm not sure if this was how the play is written by Fiona Evans, or whether this the Director Bronwen Coleman's choice, but it certainly gives an interesting dynamic to the characters and the role of the audience as witnesses.
Same dialogue, different genders, similar story. Teacher Aiden takes Beth his 15 year old student away for the weekend. Beth appears to have sexual power over Aiden, however, when he dumps her, she is devastated. Although the gender roles have swapped, the consequences of the abuse seems the same - taking someone who is truly smitten to a heightened state of euphoria and then ending the experience, leaving the muse with a grief, sadness and shame.
It's clear both Daz and Beth are clearly in love with their teachers and flattered by the opportunity to an 'adult' activity, like go away for the weekend and have sex. I found myself empathising with Daz and Beth for the situation they are in, thinking it will be fun, not knowing it may damage their future relationships. However, I also had niggling empathy for Lauren and Aiden - it seemed they were damaged children inside adult bodies holding dark secrets. Even though they know the societal rules, emotionally they are somehow dependent, or exploring what happened to them as teenagers, through the lives of their muses.
Scarborough presents some challenging provocations - and the cast and crew have done a wonderful job of presenting this play, paying attention to the finer details and intricacies of human relationships and psyche.
There's still time to catch it this weekend - so hop on in to The Burrow Fitzroy and enjoy!