Review by Devan Marr
60 min / Drama / Mature
Oceans Apart is a tricky one. It attempts to provide the audience an inside look into the mind of a returning soldier in what is obviously a uniquely personal experience. I think the play struck the right balance, but that’s because I’ve never had to deal with coming home from a war.
The play focuses on a young man just returned from serving in Afghanistan and his struggle to adjust to civilian life. In order to do so he finds himself on a cross Canada journey that takes him from St. Johns to Victoria. It’s a particularly well written piece about a difficult, and timely, topic.
Although there are two other actors in this production, Oceans Apart is mostly presented through the main character, Corporal Patrick McLachlan. He tells the audience about his return to Canada, the troubles he’s facing slowing down to civilian life, and the strange fact that he misses Afghanistan. As he travels across Canada, Pat meets old friends, finds a fellow soldier, and drinks a little too much. The audience gets a first hand look at the battles someone has to fight even though they’ve left the war.
The play is well written and puts into words and actions what is normally just a concept. We hear of the stories of PTSD and the struggles veterans have when returning, but rarely is that ever borne out into something tangible. Oceans Apart makes a good attempt. I say a good attempt because I felt it was difficult to get drawn in to the characters. The script demands a certain amount of gravity that requires an actor with the appropriate experience to bring it home. The acting and lines were tight and on cue, making the most of a minimal set. The interactions between the characters, both on stage and pre-recorded, was effective and convincing. While the performance overall was good and heartfelt, I just couldn’t get emotionally invested. As I told my friend who was with me at the performance, it made a good play but would have made an even better book. Of course, that might just be me. There were plenty of people in the audience who seemed to really enjoy the piece.
Despite my personal issues with it, Oceans Apart is a touching well-written look at the real struggles soldiers can face when returning home. It’s definitely worth your time to see.
Oceans Apart is playing at Venue 1- Arts Court Theatre. The next show times are Saturday, June 21, at 18:30, Monday, June 23, at 19:30, Thursday, June 26, at 21:30, Friday, June 27, at 18:00, and Saturday, June 28, at 13:00.