There’s lots of potential philosophical depth in Dare You Say Please at the King’s Head Theatre but more development needed in the script
“Do you honestly believe your life is worth more than mine?”
Aimee Varani’s Dare You Say Please certainly aims big as it tees up some huge philosophical questions. In a society on the precipice due to overpopulation, all 25 year olds have to face a lethal judgement – put into a room with another person of the same age, they have to decide which one of them should be allowed to live, knowing that if they can’t reach a decision, neither will survive.
As Maria and Oscar face their choice, we take a real-time journey through this seemingly impossible choice. Delving into the nature of how or whether good and bad behaviour should factor in, questions such as if the motivation to do good is simply to get ammunition for this process, does that negate the ‘good’ that was done. Can this final discussion between two people ever be done ethically?
Nominally, there’s much that should interest here but at just an hour long, and with very little contextual information available, the play falls flat. There’s little sense of why society has devolved to this point, the hints of roles played by Maria (as a carer) and Oscar (as a ‘guardian’) aren’t explored enough to add meaningful detail. Ultimately, the stakes don’t feel high enough for them to care enough and subsequently, the same goes for the audience.
I was a big fan of Alexzandra Sarmiento’s directorial debut in We’re Few and Far Between last year but here, comparatively, she seems stymied. There’s little of the artistic boldness of that earlier piece and perhaps constricted by the space, her interventions are barely noticeable, to the point where the static nature of much of the production feels uninspired. Basic blocking errors come to the fore, as the unbalanced nature of the writing weighs the whole thing down.