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The Tigers of Wrath

  • November 17th, 2012

I commend Circa's play running till 1 December, The Tigers of Wrath. Seeing it with a daughter this evening stirred some powerful memories. I should have squirmed at the character of Pauline, since I was in the camp that thought going to the Great Wall, and shopping, were frivolous when I was in China for 6 weeks in 1976. But the play relationship tensions dwarfed the political tension, and mockery saved the play.

To me it was the best kind of skewering. Dean Parker recreates the self-important self-mutilation of my generation of left-wingers. But not with contempt. Instead this is a sympathetic shafting of hypocrisy and human weaknes from a saddened and more realistic continuing believer in the original faith. He can mock but not excoriate the pretension because he still wishes communismt would have worked out as it should, if only humans had been more worthy.

The acting, particularly of Heather O'Carroll as Pauline, and Kate Prior as Trish was so evocative that I cannot be sure whether the brilliance in the play was in Dean Parker's script, or more in Jane Waddell's direction and the outstanding acting.

To me the play is deadly in its capture of the dehumanizing influence of political passion, and weak in its depiction of the lawyer. Oliver's moral erosion and "feelings" were too predictable. The stereotypical left wing view of business made him interesting only as the foil for the women.


  • Dean Parker
  • November 19th, 2012
  • 12:32 pm

If you go back and have another look at the play, and ignore Pauline and Trish (impossible, I know), you’ll see the key to the lawyer’s character is his failure as a writer. His daughter is on to this. I share his pain.

Dean Parker

[Dean I guess I was distracted by the signalled doom coming from the Dellabarca enticement, . I realise you have to signal, to build suspense, but it made that outcome too predictable. I did not lose my interest in just how it would work out though.
Then Oliver’s rationalisations and predicament at the end were too stereotypical. From having now lawyered thru two boom and bust cycles, and been closely involved in securities law for three decades, and knowing many directors and lawyers who’ve been involved, I react to stereotyping that reflects a minority of cases. Very few collapses and losses are caused by cynical or ruthless opportunism. Many more result from the usual herd blindness and good intent and misjudged pursuit of duty that most of us operate under. But at the end each time, as well as the crooks who should go to jail for much longer, we pillory a quota of scapegoats, and make our law even more torturous. That benefits lawyers and politicians. But it is vain and expensive for the dynamism of our economy.

Simple determined enforcement of our oldest laws on dishonesty throughout the cycle, plus the powerful residual memory of losses to greed and collective optimism (such memories have about a 7 year half life as a meme/prophylactic) would do far more. – I see this has grown to the point where I’ll make it a post]

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