One can only imagine persecution, domestic violence, other awful circumstances that lead you to leave you home, to flee all you know just for protection.
Refuge by Katie Duncan brings these feelings to the stage. Featuring the story of 3 women, this production tells their tale in a Woman’s refuge. All stemming from different backgrounds, different ages and with different reasons for being there, we get to see their relationships, good and bad, their fears, their life progressions and what those working and helping them also have to deal with.
Usually at The Space, everything is on the one stage but for Refuge, they have spread out to the sides, creating the kitchen and bedrooms. They effortlessly make the set feel like a hostel-like home, with the small amount of characters still being in and out of each other’s pockets, the stress of living with one another palpable over the niggling issues and in a way, the small scale of the venue helps create that atmosphere and let the narrative fill the room.
With the different backgrounds, religions, cultures, ages and so on, the stories brought are vast and so different, but still so similar with how they have reached out for help from the refuge. Each story is taken with real respect, and shows that the relationships that can be created, no matter how different you are from one another, are also so special. But it also doesn’t shy away from conflict. Even with things in common, not everyone gets along, not everyone lacks judgement to and from others and so while they flee from conflict, it can also be found in their refuge.
Each performer brings their character effortlessly for the stage that it does feel as if you are interrupting, breaking the fourth wall. They interact with each other as people who have known each other for ever, and so the naturalism is completely felt.
Refuge is a really interesting, microscopic look at Women’s Refuge, the troubles that woman face from all over the world but also how important support of other woman in this is, how important friendship is, and how both of these help in the safety of woman who unfortunately face these awful circumstances.