You are at the Walterdale Playhouse on a cold and snowy Wednesday evening. Imagine three witches, assembling around a huge kettle: Magrat Garlick, the young naive one, Nanny Ogg, the middle aged goofy one and Granny Weatherwax, the old cynical one. Imagine the room turns dark once they murmur an important and very difficult spell. Lightning appears and a demon head pops out of that kettle: green, ugly looking, mischievous eyes, sharp tongue. He allows them three questions: ‘What is going on in the castle? What are Duke Felmet and his wife up to? What are their plans?’
‘Wyrd Sisters,’ a play by Terry Pratchett, doesn’t seem to be different from others plays at the first glance: There are witches with magical power. There is a King, who got murdered by his cousin. There is a homeless baby, which now is the real king since his father got killed, but doesn’t know it yet. There is a troupe of traveling actors, hired to solve the problem. There is a fool, who is observer and adviser, but swore to be loyal to his king as long as he breathes. You will find yourself surrounded by the spirit of Shakespeare. It feels like you just traveled back in time, back to the 17th century. The traditional costumes used by the the Walterdale Theater group and the language in which the play is written helps you to believe that. You just entered a different timezone. Hamlet’s hopeless whispers and Macbeth’s tragedy are almost touchable. You might think now the play is boring, because it simply seems to be another Shakespeare adaption. But this is not quite true.
‘Can your words change the past?’ ‘Words are just weak reality. How can they become history?’ ‘Tradition is being important.’ Wait a minute: catching all those phrases, something else suddenly crossed my mind: ‘The Social Construction of Reality,’ a rather sociological book written by Thomas Luckmann and Peter L. Berger, deals with the exact same questions: What is true? What can we believe in? Who has the power to make us believe in certain things? Is authority strong enough to change history, our point of view? How is tradition formed? How is tradition anchored in our society and what does it mean for us? Communication, the power of words, truth and common sense are their main subjects, and are the main subjects of Wyrd Sisters as well. It is possible that Terry Pratchett never came across that book, that he didn’t think about it, when he wrote his play. Maybe he never even came across Shakespeare. But still, I can see all of that hidden between the lines and the spirit of Wyrd Sisters.
Wyrd Sisters – a play which has the power to help you think beyond the obvious, to help you question the apparent ‘truth’. A truly clever written piece full of word games, sarcasm and hidden winks next to tragedy, foolishness and confusion. You will laugh and cry. You will find yourself shocked and disgusted. You can feel the love Stephen Briggs brought into the play, when he adapted Wyrd Sisters for the Walterdale Playhouse. You are one with the actors and you can’t even decide which character fascinates you most. There are almost no stage props but you wont even miss them. You are thankful for the room of imagination you are able to establish. You will wake up at the end and you will find yourself confused: How it is possible that time went by so fast?
Wyrd Sisters play at the Walterdale Playhouse until December 10. Get tickets here.