Preview | ‘Spy for Spy’ at Ventura’s NAMBA Arts
Kieron Barry’s New Play Spotlights Relationships and the Role of Memory
Ventura playwright Kieron Barry’s new play, Spy for Spy, has two characters and six scenes: six snapshots of significant moments in a relationship. “I suppose you could call it a memory play,” says Barry. “The play is about a relationship, but it’s from the perspective of someone remembering a relationship. The six scenes are the various points along the journey.” The structure of this show mimics the manifestation of memories, which can appear in the mind in an order that defies their logical chronology. Thus, the six scenes in Spy for Spy are performed in a random order. Barry’s love story features two women: one a fastidious lawyer, the other a free spirit. The flashes of their romance generate questions about what it means to share your life with someone.
It’s a complicated feat, this kind of precise play crafting. As Barry points out, the beginning of each scene needs to conceivably be a play opener, and every closing line must be prepared to be the last line the audience hears. Like a random playlist, Barry says, a re-ordering of songs can prompt new revelations. Similarly, the order of the scenes in Spy for Spy cannot help but affect the viewers’ perception of the characters’ relationship. “If you took a comedy and rearranged it, would it be a tragedy?” Barry asks. “I wanted to get to grips with that idea of trying to move beyond structure.”
“Memory,” says Barry, “is something we attempt to understand in the unknowable, mysterious sequence that is time. Time and experience can seem very thin and then you hit something that has a huge texture to it, and suddenly, you feel alive again.”
Witness this feat of playwriting engineering in Ventura at NAMBA Arts (47 S. Oak St., Ventura, nambaarts.com/spy-for-spy) from March 31–April 2. Starring Meeghan Holaway and Gloria Ines, this is a chance to see Spy for Spy before its London premiere off the West End this summer!
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