In a week when people around the world have been despairing for humanity, Brisbane playwright Sven Swenson’s Heavenly Bodies and Beautiful Souls, currently playing at the Brisbane Powerhouse brings us back to the simple connections within human relationships that give us hope – even in our darkest moments when all hope appears lost.
Set as two independent but intertwined plays, Heavenly Bodies and Beautiful Souls are both touching and engaging pieces that highlight the fragile nature of the human condition and the ways in which we try to mask our vulnerabilities.
Heavenly bodies in particular will be particularly poignant for LGBT audiences with it’s focus on gender identity and acceptance.
Set in Singapore in 1942 as the Japanese invasion is fast approaching, Aussie digger ‘Cutty’ is pressured into visiting a brothel despite missing his wife Ruby whom he loves deeply. It is here that he meets Laidie, a young transgender woman who wants nothing more than to find her place in the world. As the bombs continue to shell the city around them, this unlikely pair form a bond commonality far more intimate than most brothel encounters ever could.
Dialogue between the pair starts off awkwardly but when honesty prevails, barriers are broken down as Cutty and Laidie discover that the similarities that unite them are greater than the differences that divide.
The second play in this double billing is Beautiful Souls is at times heart wrenchingly difficult to watch yet, ultimately impossible to look away from. Evoking the memories of watching the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia earlier this year, Beautiful Souls offers a glimpse into the final hours of convicted drug smugglers David, his mentally disabled brother Justin, and friend Bethany.
As they sit in adjacent cells in a Thai prison awaiting their fast impending fate, the three must come to terms with their decisions and the consequences.
While both of these plays tackle some pretty heavy issues, they both, however were able to make audiences laugh and smile as the humour and good nature of the human condition shone through despite the dire circumstances.
Swenson’s Heavenly Bodies plays together with Beautiful Souls and is now playing at the Brisbane Powerhouse until 28 November. Tickets available CLICK HERE