Captivating and heart-wrenchingly familiar, Travesty is a window into the relationship of two young adults, Ben and Anna. Flipping the rom-com genre on its head, this love story challenges gender roles – Lydia Larson (Ben) and Pierro Niel-Mee (Anna) are tasked with embodying the opposite sex and they do so expertly, with subtle dexterity and grace.
With ample comedic relief and relatable banter, the crux of the play is meaningfully poignant. We follow Ben and Anna as they stumble through relationship milestones; the one night stand, the first ‘I love you,’ and a fight about hanging up the laundry. Anna personifies a fear of commitment; the modern plight of having too many choices, where everything is possible. Ben, on the other hand, is unwaveringly sure that he loves Anna.
The true-to-life writing brings a genuine realism to this modern love story, which questions why it is so difficult to figure out who and what to settle for. It acknowledges and then defies both polar opposites – the old fashioned love-conquers-all romances and the modern relationship, where technology disconnects us from true connection. With only a few existential musings, the play doesn’t dwell on preaching about what “love” is but rather highlights themes of cycles, seasons and tides, so that over the course of years you see the ebbs and flows of Ben and Anna’s life together.
Expert transitions show the passage of time and captivate the audience rather than disengaging them. A simple set with a bed, a chair, bedside tables and no extraneous props give the focus to the intimate acting.
Directed by Emily Burns, Travesty is Liam Williams’ (primarily known for his comedic stand-up and sketch writing) debut play. Produced by Fight in the Dog – a company that attempts to “create work that’s at once as funny as the best comedy and as thought-provoking as the best theatre.” This play accomplishes just that.