By The End of The Year

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This new play tells the story of a family living on either side of the iron curtain, spanning three decades it is set between 1978 and 2011. It was performed in the Salon at the Abbotsford Convent.

Cast: Adam May, Rebekah Hill, Georgia Eyers, Matthew Bertram and Kate Bailey.

Video: Ariani Adam

Composer: Andrew Watson

Designer: Esther Schouten

Production Assistance: Ben Jamieson

Writer/ Director: Joachim Matschoss


Joachim Matschoss’s latest play, By the End of the Year is about longing, the longing for a lost brother, killed by the Communists while attempting to escape East Berlin, the longing for a wife who left him for another man, and the pervasive longing for home and family. It is also a play about entrapment. Matschoss’s protagonist, Vitus is trapped by the cruel consequences of history’s judgement, a victim of the time and place that holds him within his spiked walls in Riga. His wife, Lydia, and daughter Anne attempt to escape from the entrapment, only to discover the real meaning of home and family. Only Vitus’s younger daughter, Rosa, is content, bound by loyalty and love. Vitus is trapped by the dark secret of a fateful past and an enforced present. Matschoss’s play is a family tragedy, enveloped in the inevitability of historical events and human longing.

It is told with a directness and compassion that, spanning the years and passing back and forth, casts his characters in the drama of their circumstance and motive. His dialogue is simple and economical, disguising a complex subtext of each character’s longing. The occasional monologues paint the canvas of his drama with the poetic shades of hopes and dreams and desires. Their eloquence is moving and powerful.

By The End of the Year reveals the talent of a playwright, who identifies with his plot and demonstrates a subtle, yet revealing empathy for his characters. It is a play that will resonate with all who bear a sense of loss or long for the fulfilment of their hopes and dreams.

- Peter Wilkins, Canberra Times

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