It was interesting in terms of the subject matter but I thought it didn't really make it as a drama. The subject seemed too big for a 90-minute play. Perhaps it would have been more successful as a film (if they could find a way to present the horror of it visually - in that, radio has something of an advantage).
Originally Posted by tony yyy
In fact, paradoxically, although the subject seemed big in dramatic terms the plot was a little weak and could hardly do justice to the story it had to tell. For me, that affected the performances too, with Jack Klaff the only one who really measured up. I suppose I would say the cast did what they could with their parts but the play lacked complexity and subtlety.
My thoughts about the play's qualities as a drama align with aeolium's (#2). Louis Nowra's approach to the unfolding brutal events is to filter them through a mental contest between his two principal characters (the Consul and the Governor), who end up engaging in a regular game of poker whose stakes ultimately become the lives of the refugees. There is little plot. There is little 'drama' - those events that could have been made dramatic are dealt with by exposition - it's as though the playwright has deliberately chosen a lowkey approach to allow the history centre stage. I didn't find this approach particularly successful, although I enjoyed listening to it again.