OWL

DIRECTOR: Jon Keevy

CAST: Briony Horwitz

VENUE: The Intimate Theatre, Hiddingh Campus, Orange, Street

UNTIL: Friday

RATING: ****

Bitter-sweet and short, Owl is a well-drawn character sketch.

The one-woman show isn’t quite a monologue since Briony Horwitz (pictured) plays all 10 characters herself.

While this may be the story of Owl, her friend K is the poignant pivot who propels everything that happens in Owl’s life.

Ten-year-old Owl moves with her dad to a tiny town in the Overberg where their neighbour has an angry face and an even angrier father. K is the more dominating character on the surface, but Owl is the shy submissive one who makes all the decisions.

From her perch in the jacaranda tree in the backyard, or from behind the curtains of her own home, Owl is a silent witness to K’s life. They go to the same school and hang out together, united in their mother-less state and loneliness.

The set is empty except for one threadbare chair, which becomes tree, couch and bar counter while at the same time staying at the centre of all the action. It isn’t just because this prop is centred on the stage that your attention stays fixed on Horwitz.

She goes from gleeful child to slightly disengaged teen with quiet assurance. She carefully delineates several charac- ters without getting muddled and never loses her place in the story. When she does innocent child it is as believable as when she does inebriated father.

Her posture, accent, movements and facial expressions all change to create the disappointed school principal, scary teacher, horny teenage boys and confused teenage girls.

There is no resolution, but by the abrupt end you have been drawn into their lives, you want to know what comes next for Owl and K, because the strong characterisation has drawn you in to their reality.