The first thing you notice is the smell. The moist wet earthy smell of dirt and grass. A garden, a backyard. Flowers. It smells fulsome, vaguely animal, like a children’s petting farm. Like lambs. And I’m instantly, eerily, reminded of Company B’s production of Love Me Tender Upstairs in 2010, of Colin Moody standing on that little slither of grass holding the lamb in his arms, staring out at the audience. It’s a curious reminder, too, since both Love Me Tender and this play, Kit Brookman’s Small and Tired, share the character of Iphigenia, drawn from Greek mythology.
Set now, in a world we could safely say is our own, Brookman’s play unfolds with an intoxicating mix of warmth, humanity, gentle humour and a strangely compelling sense of being part of something much bigger and uncontainable. Loosely adapted from the myth of Orestes, Clytaemnestra, Electra, and Agamemnon, Small and Tired tells the story of Orestes’ return following his father’s death, and the tensions and conversations he has with his family that erupt and flare and conflagrate over his arrival back into their lives after half a lifetime’s absence in one way or another.