Review: Sand @ The Other Room, Porter's
Insomnia Season: Sand
Thursday 18th February 2016
The sleepy season continues at Porter's with the Other Room showcasing another unnervingly beautiful piece of modern play-writing, this time in the form of Sand by Nick Gill.
Relatively new and already causing a stir with his punk-rock aesthetic and unique approach to his creative output which includes music composition, his play Sand has all the hallmarks of a piece intended to provoke and unsettle.
A one woman play, introduced by our director Kate Wasserberg informing us of a player change thus resulting in our performer of the evening holding the script throughout the performance (a minor distraction as she delivers with tremendous recall), the stage setting the scene with flickering strip light frames pulsing on cues with the script; a most effective use of lighting.
The play is around 30 minutes, an ideal period of time to just be totally absorbed by the one woman performance, and our player Sara Lloyd-Gregory recalls various timescales of world leaders discussing and worrying about nuclear war. As she details the immediate attacks and aftershocks of detonation, the lighting flickers and subtle sounds surround us in broken-down ambience. It's during these passages that she emotes that feeling of panicked uncertainty as she delivers her graphic lines with an almost anthemic motion.
She stands up and stands out; the minor physicality of the role ensures we are encapsulated by her dialogue, and as she jumps back and forth in time with her recollections of the world at war, we the audience feel her dread. We feel the pulse racing and the adrenaline flowing as the impending doom foreshadows the entirety of the performance. The ending to the piece builds like a fevered fear-fuelled crescendo of uncertainty in the face of annihilation. It's during this part of the play that she refers to her script, which actually adds a wonderful sense of realism to her delivery.
During this passage, as the lights flicker and dim and air-raid sounds seemingly never lose their potency for instilling fear, we are rooted to our chairs as she details the process for protecting oneself from the incoming attacks. By glancing at the script during this passage it feels like she is just reading a safety information booklet to us, with little knowledge or helpfulness to us in general; just the air steward during a nuclear attack. During her duress, her voice breaks down as she knows her instructions aren't going to help anyone, and the lights finally end as the sound envelopes us in explosions.
This is a powerful piece, fitting to this season of Insomnia as it attacks that part of the subconscious that warns us of the unknown, that fear of uncertainty and the overbearing destructive nature of the human race. If anything, this could be directed at politicians and world leaders as they are the ones that could be kept awake by such threats, and if they do find a way to sleep at night with all of this surrounding our great world, maybe this could be the wake-up call they need to wake up and stay awake, for we will all be affected by this subject matter.
Director Kate Wasserberg and player Sara Lloyd-Gregory have created something powerful in its prophetic and anthemic delivery. A must see.
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Photo Credit: Aenne Pallasca