In the new digital play, Fission, Lex (Hiftu Quasem) and Jack (Geraint Rhys) grieve the loss of their father at his wake. Tensions are high as the siblings reveal their differing ideas for where their father’s ashes should be scattered. Will the father’s soul find peace on the mountains or is his more natural home on the hard concrete around a nuclear reactor?
The two-hander is performed at the simple black box performance space at the Actors Centre and is available to stream online. Quasem and Rhys deliver fine performances in their respective roles and writer/director Ewan Pollitt writes with a gentleness which captures the emotional fragility of siblings who have lost a loved one.
Running at just under 20 minutes, the piece in its current form feels like a work in progress. In the intriguing synopsis for show, it promises to take the audience from the mountains of the Lake District to complex laboratories of the nuclear industry. The shoots of this idea did begin to emerge. But there is much more space for growth in order to draw the audience in and engage us with the central themes in the play.
As Lex and Jack squabble, there’s clearly unresolved conflict between the pair. This manifests itself in an argument where each provides a defence for who knew their father best. I found myself being drawn to this secondary concern of weighing up the relative merits of both of their points. When in actual fact, the more interesting element is the stark differences in the way that Lex and Jack have grown to understand the very same man. As we don’t learn much about the siblings individually, we’re left wanting to know more about how have they have come to have such divergent perceptions of their father.
Fission does show a lot of promise and with further development, it has the potential to be a very interesting piece. But in its current form, it felt like the embryo of an idea which isn’t yet fully formed.
Fission is available to stream on demand from 30th October to 8th November at the time of writing.