Killology is the eagerly anticipated new play by Gary Owen’s, writer of the award winning ‘Iphigenia in Splott’. It definitely fulfils the promise of his previous works and proves Owens is a writer of exceptional insight and talent.
It’s a dark and visceral journey into the lives of three men, told through interconnecting monologues. The father of a son involved in a horrific incident sneaks past security and waits in the bathroom of a luxury flat to kill the occupant when he returns. A wealthy young businessman reflects on his competitive relationship with his father and his stellar career as a violent video game creator. A teenager talks about the bullying he is subjected to and talks about his absent father.
Gary Owens has a reputation for tackling disturbing subjects and this play is no exception. Much like ‘Iphigenia in Splott’ he cleverly toys with the preconceived notions we have about people on the fringes of society and the things that we rarely talk about. The actors stand on a bleak, damp set of shiny black plastic and coiled wires with a child’s bicycle suspended above it. There’s a discordant backdrop of low level sounds with stark lighting changes underlining the speeches. The action flits seamlessly between the three characters and they all deliver the tightly written speeches with skill.
There are humorous moments but overall it’s an uncomfortable and disturbing play but one worth watching for many reasons. Owens’ compassion for his characters is clear to see, as is his talent to dissect and scrutinise society and humanity. His talent to manipulate the audiences’ emotions is breath taking. There are moments of truth and illusion and a final sickening clarity to the piece in the last moments of the play. It’s the sign of good drama when you’re left thinking about the play for some time and Owen’s manages to leave you with a disquieting contemplation that will linger.