Thursday, 14 April 2011


I came out of Wastwater, a series of three short, tangentially linked plays (an elliptical triptych is what the Royal Court call it), having very much enjoyed them, but really quite foggy about what their point was. which was a bit strange. for some reason beforehand i though they had an eco link. but while watching, nothing of that nature particularly struck a cord. Each story takes place in the immediate environs of Heathrow airport - were the plays about the intimate, minor dramas lost in the roar of international activity? or the flightpath as metaphor for something - emotional journeys? the noise and fear and fright and excitement of takeoff and landing as one chapter closes and another opens? who knows. i'm still wondering. still, all of the above said, it was strangely compelling... 

I am fan of both Simon Stephens (playwright) and Katie Mitchell (Director), and I loved the claustrophobic intensity of each of the two-handers - the dialogue is pacey and has no pre-amble;  thrown into scenes dripping with drama from the get-go you must work to catch on to what's happening in them: who are the characters? where are they? what's their connection to one another? how well do they know each other?

Within each section, one of the characters is pushed to (and beyond) a significant, and potentially life-changing point by the other,  in a situation that is (one presumes) all too familiar to the latter. is it a good  thing? or darkly sinister? the tension is almost unbearable at points (in the best way, as oppose to a boring way) - the mystery being unravelled is teasingly, tantalisingly drawn out even as the dialogue races along.
weird. but in a good way.

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