Partners in Crime: A Suspenseful Thriller About a Couple in Search of the Truth

I went to Şinasi Sahnesi, a state theater, on 30 April 2013 to see Eric - Emmanuel Schmitt’s Partners In Crime. Schmitt is a Belgian playwright and the original title of his play is Petits Crimes Conjugaux (2004). The play is translated into Turkish by Serap Babür as Karı Koca Arasındaki Ufak Tefek Cinayetler and directed by Mustafa Kurt. It is a play for two actors, the husband and wife. Gilles is portrayed by Sinan Demir while Demet Oran acts as Lisa. Şinasi is one of the modern theatre buildings in Ankara, therefore the atmosphere was different than of Küçük Tiyatro. It is a big auditorium with a good view of the stage. The level of the stage is higher than the seats of the audience which gives the feeling of watching two people’s lives as a third person observer who has no saying in their lives. Before the performance began and at the break Christina Aguilera’s song, “Hurt”, was played. Audience was warned when play was about to start by different telephone melodies which made people laugh and brought a lighter mood to the performance. 
Starting from the very first scene, the actors did an amazing job and attracted the full attention of the audience. It is a fairly short play, 80 minutes, however, there were many scenes that surprised the audience, that is, the play was full of twists and turning points. It opens with the scene of the couple coming back home and we soon realize that Gilles is suffering from amnesia since he does not remember his home or not even sure whether Lisa is really his wife. As Lisa and Gilles talk back and forth about the accident, the audience realizes that Lisa is hiding some details by ignoring or avoiding Gilles’ questions. In later scenes, to our amazement, it is revealed that Gilles actually did not lose his memory except the last day which is the day of his accident. Gilles’ reaction to the events, and his gestures made audience laughed in various times. Later in the second act, Gilles confesses that he knew what happened all along, that Lisa tried to kill her by hitting his head with a heavy sculpture in the dark. In each of these scenes, the audience was surprised by the turn of events. Even though the events depicted are not as fun, the play can be categorized as comedy, since it made the audience laugh in many scenes. Moreover, I believe the audience enjoyed the play because it is about a couple’s relationship, a topic everyone is familiar with. In some scenes, the dialogues made the audience burst into laughter but it would not be considered that funny if the audience did not have a similar experience. One point of disappointment is that the audience was not as respectful as in the plays I have seen before. A ringing phone during the performance and the fact that audience kept moving and making little noises made it hard for me to focus on the stage.

Partners in Crime is a modern play written in 2004. Therefore, it provides an insightful look into the problems of modern marriages. It is a realistic play in that sense. The peak point of excitement was the ultimate revelation point, when the audience learns that Gilles remembers everything including the very moment of the accident. Even though the play is about a murder attempt, it has a lighter mood than expected due to the comedy scenes and the success of the actors. The playwright suggests that even though a murder attempt might be seen as a little too far, it is also a natural turn of events. He strengthens the feeling that it could happen in any marriages. One of the possible themes I could think of after seeing the play was feminism. Although Lisa is the one who tried to kill Gilles, the audience sympathizes with her more since she was neglected by Gilles during their 15 years of marriage and Gilles often cheated on her. Loyalty in relationships, alcohol addiction (of Lisa), the problems of a modern marriage, and losing the excitement of love in a long-term relationship are the possible themes of the play which are clearly expressed by the playwright.
Last but not least, the production of the play was quite successful. Stage design, the living room of a house, was well-done. The lighting of the stage changed when the couple was tracing back their memories to the day they first met and it was a good touch. Moreover, the songs were an important of the production. Playing different Christina Aguilera songs that matches the mood of the play at that particular moment was also a good addition. The old jazz songs which are used while the actors were dancing or reminiscing important parts of their lives gave the feeling of a movie to the production. Overall, the play offers a fun, heartwarming love story to its audience for 80 minutes and it is a good example of modern plays.
 Melek Cansu Petek (ELIT I)

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