Savannah's Theatre Blog

Connected

Posted in Uncategorized by Savannah on March 21, 2011

I wanted to have a much more polished version of this! But, I have very little time so I figure that I’ll fix it up when I get a chance.

 

Connected

When we first walked into the theatre, we saw the start of Reben’s sculpture which seemed to be another version of The Magic Wave. The lighting was soft and only parts of the stage were lit. The bottom of the sculpture was illuminated but was dark underneath. The other half of the stage was in soft light with dark around the edges. The most remarkable element of the lighting at the beginning of the piece, was that the lit up portion of the stage was interrupted by square outlines – a shadow created by the sculpture. Before the piece has even begun, we are hit with boundaries and the feeling of being trapped. Saying this, the lighting was very soft and created ease within the audience. The contrast between the boundaries and soft light was very effective in having the audience think about the story to come.

The juxtaposition of the lighting is paralleled with the juxtaposition of movement when the piece begins. It was particularly apparent to me that there were strong differences in the way each character moved; there was no regularity. On one side (in light) Harriet Ritchie begins dancing with total chaos and anguish, movement going in all directions and circles indicating that she does not know where she stands/what to do with herself. Contrastingly, we have other performers (I’m about 90% sure it was Joseph Simons and later Marnie Palomares) assembling the sculpture with very simple and small movements; they are in a completely calm state. Others joined the chaotic movement – which repeats – but it is interesting to note the difference in the way each character moved. The strongest example of contrast in movement occurred between Stephanie Lake and Alisdair Macindoe’s characters. Whilst Stephanie’s movements were full of strength and power, Alisdair’s showed desperation and pure despair.

We are hit with another contrast with costuming. Marnie Palomare wears only white whilst all other performers wear black. Whilst she is immediately disconnected from the group but her costume, it is not immediately recognised as she joined in the chaotic movement. As well as this, the performers came in at intervals which meant she was not isolated completely. However, we are made more aware of her disconnection when she moves away from the chaos to build the sculpture. That she moves away from the chaos is very significant when we look into the storyline and the importance of each character. It was at this point where I first contemplated the idea of death being the key element to the piece. The white clothing combined with the disconnection made me think of Marnie’s character as someone in heaven, or no longer a part of life on earth. Something that made me think my interpretation was true was the different movements between characters because I was made to feel that they were different, individual ways of dealing with grief. Right from the start, Marnie’s movements were controlled and light, Stephanie’s were strong, Alisdair’s full of anguish and Joseph’s and Harriet’s somewhere in between (although Joseph’s showed more strength, Harriet’s more poise). It was immediate to the audience that they were revolving around Marnie’s character, something later emphasised when she was the centre of movements and her being the one they move the sculpture around.

The first time the strings are attached the friends (those dressed in black) attach the strings to each other except for Alisdair who is attached by the protagonist. Whilst the attaching of the first three was occurring, the girl wearing white and Alisdair were dancing in front of them which signified that her relationship with him was on a more significant level than the others. That she is not attached to the strings, and that she finished the attaching, is further amplification of disconnection. . She then moves (backwards) towards the sculpture and as she reaches the sculpture, it is moved around her by the other performers connected to the sculpture by strings. The disconnection is emphasised when she leaves to construct the sculpture and she keeps her emotions in complete control (contrasts to the chaos in the others movements). That her friends move it around her suggests that they were trying to help her before she died. During this part of the piece she takes on a more ethereal quality whilst the others have more of a human quality; more realistic. This was when it really clicked for me that she had died; the ethereal quality, white clothing and disconnection made me think of angels and heaven. It seems that the white symbolised being in a better place whilst black, in a more difficult one (i.e. on Earth/real life).

Throughout the piece, the question of who to trust is emphasised during solo performances progressing to ones with two or three people. This is exemplified with the sequences that involve 3 people with two people doing the same movement and 1 person doing something else altogether. They may then alternate or the 3rd person may do the movement on a different level. Combining this suspicion with the different levels of grief was what first had the audience thinking of the protagonist’s death and murder. We begin to watch more critically as the play progresses; trying to determine her killer.

There was a strong emphasis on the strong sexual nature of the relationship between the protagonist and Alisdair’s character. The first indication was when she placed his hands on her bottom, then when she was at the sculpture and grabbed one of the small balls of the sculpture with her mouth, then when he was thrusting against the floor (she was lying under the sculpture not affected physically whilst desperation and passion was the underlying factor in his movements) and finally when they were in underwear and shirts, he had his legs open half way to 2nd position and her head went down in between his legs. What was really interesting was the contrast between their movements in these moments. Whilst she still had passion and excitement in her movement, it was much stronger in his and her’s had no sense of desperation. This was something else that added to that disconnection; she was in control.

After the first sexual encounter, the other three characters came back on stage dressed as security guards. This immediately had the audience thinking of them guarding/looking out for the protagonist and the guy with the short hair. Stephenie was left on stage by herself and there was a full wash of light over the stage (that got brighter as the first part of the scene progressed) and she spoke about the determining truth from what she thought happened and the media. She then talked about an incident that we don’t yet know the details of a security guard from a different section calling her over to say something to her. She didn’t really like the guy but went over out of boredom. As she was walking over there was another guy coming up behind her so she decided that the two guys could just talk (was it the two guys who were in the piece/the friends?). When she got back something (which we later find out is a piece of art) was gone. We later find out that the cleaner had picked it up and was about to throw it out but was stopped just as he was about to press the button. He thought it was rubbish and it was explained that it was art; that it meant something. This could be a reference to the sculpture that features in this piece. Because it is made out of recycled plastic, wood and steel, it could be seen as rubbish by the ignorant (despite it’s obvious beauty) but it does have a deeper meaning. The movement the characters were doing (which recurred through the remainder of the piece) seemed to be cutting themselves up. I know think that it was peeling away all the layers until you find the truth which is what the artist has done with the wave. That the movement recurred I think goes along the same lines, but in terms of relationships. They peeled back all the layers and found what they really felt. Later, all characters are on stage as security guards and they talk of their boredom; of the dreams they once had and what they are now; they talked of boundaries. This brings our attention back to the beginning of the piece with the square outlines which have now disappeared. What happened that broke the spell of living day in and out with no excitement? What was that breaking point? Was it passion? Or was it boredom and frustration?

Near to the end of the play the light changes so that the centre of the stage is in light and the edges are in darkness. All five performers start by standing in the dark connected by a series of movements in a jolty but wave like motion. The main girl wearing white walks back into the light whilst the other four continue the motion with a space in between two pairs. It is interesting that whilst there was a space in between them, their movements were not disconnected; this could show the transition they are making after the death of a loved one – life goes on.

It seems that there were only two characters that could be the murderer; Stephanie and Alisdair’s characters. Asides from Marnie’s character, those two have the most attention. She (Stephanie) started off with complete control and he – with complete desperation and lack of control. It seems that his passion and devotion could have led to one act of horrible action; desperation. At one point during Stephanie’s monologue as the security guard, the light wash changed to a much warmer, yellow wash symbolising her trustworthy kind nature meaning that she could not be the murderer.

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