Thalia’s Umbrella’s Europe by David Greig (3/21/22)

Europe is and isn’t a COVID play, while also being a clever choice of literature.

It is often difficult to write about major and harrowing world events while they are raw. It was a number of years before I could conceptualize a 9-11 play, and I still haven’t written it! So Terry Edward Moore’s no doubt deep and rich knowledge of the ouevre has brought up a sly and subtle winner. I doubt Thalia’s Umbrella anticipated the Ukraine war, but that also resonates in this production.

A homeless couple, Katia and Sava, show up at a UK border railway station as the town, including its industrial base, is being decommissioned and the locals put out of work. There they become entangled with the town’s drama as families suffer disruption, the marginalized bear the brunt of the malaise, and the railway station discontinues hosting trains. Complications both personal and global engulf the misfits, and everything goes sky high.

Nothing is amiss in the production; even the clean, minimalist staging consisting of an empty space lends to the forward progression of the story. At the end, we are left with the sense that preexisting societal structures are now gone, and the way forward is not familiar, even down to the individuals who have to accept their new status as winners and losers. While this is not an unknown idea concerning our post-pandemic world, it is helpful to have it conceptualized in the medium that has seen itself viewed and treated similarly to the ill-benighted train station. 

No one is here because the train no longer stops.

© Joann Farias 2024