ARTYFACTS: Interiors: Silence speaks volumes

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Interiors: Silence speaks volumes

A silent play? Not a word is heard from the seven actors. The set is a dining room, the event a dinner, the guests get drunk as tale unfolds. The clue is in the title. It’s all about perspectives, looking beyond the obvious to get inside.
Perpective 1: Ordinary places are extraordinary. As the guests arrive, into this cosy, suburban dining room, we’re deliberately thrown, as they’re bearing rifles and handguns. So we learn that the location is the unidentified frozen north, where polar bears roam.
Perpective 2: The ocean, moon and stars are cleverly projected onto the set and it is clear that this is what the actors see outside the window but inside their own heads. We see, for real, at least projected, what they see in reverse, within their own minds. Clever stuff.
Perpective 3: We then see inside the minds of the performers by just observing their behaviour. It is astonishing how much we can tell about their internal thoughts by sight alone. We literally read their minds.
Perpective 4: Not only do we read their minds but we read their minds reading other minds. Two levels of solipsism are revealed. Sometimes the slightest piece of body language reveals their relationship with others, love, unrequited love, lust, indifference.
Perpective 5: As we climb deeper into the characters an unseen narrator voices their innermost thoughts, their inner voices, sometimes funny, sometimes sad. The characters then give voice to their innermost feelings, which even the other actors don't hear, just we the audience..
Perpective 6: The narrator eventually appears on stage and gives actual voice to their predicament and we see life from the outside, from the perspective of death.
Perpective 7: We’re finally told of their fate, that they all die, some sooner than expected, so we see them from outside of time.
Perspective 8: In the end we see inside ourselves, our solipsistic predicament and the cold, nihilism of the universe warmed only by our all too brief relationships with others. It’s about the affirmation of life in the face of certain death. As you’re popped back into the real world, you see that tehre’s another layer of representation – it’s a play. You’ve simply been looking inside the minds of a writer and director.
This all sounds very analytic but the play is seamless and very entertaining.
Successor to Long Life?
Clever thoughtful play and well directed. I suspect, and it is only a surmise, that the writer got this idea from the play Long Life that appeared in the Edinburgh International Festival in 2006. There you walked through the corridor of an old Soviet style apartment block to get to your seat. It didn't stink but smelled - bad. The wall was removed and we saw five bedrooms with sleeping figures. We heard dream talk, farts, coughing, groaning, and as they started to emerge into consciousness and breakfast – it was still dark. As the day progressed their hobbies preoccupied them, rituals were performed and social interactions and encounters marked time until the party in the evening. There they briefly reverted into their youthful, flirtatious and mischievous selves, then struggled back to bed. It was beautiful, ugly, sweet, smelly, happy and sad - it's a long life. The Riga work was different but similar.


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