You'll think things

22 April 2019

Liam Rees sits and watches. Sits and watches. Sits and watches.

You sit in a dark room waiting to have your emotions manipulated.

You know the actors are going to talk about horrible things.

            Like rape. And torture. And excessive violence. And suicide. And a dead dog.

You’ve heard the trigger warnings for both A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing and Killology.

You expect you will be horrified. You expect you will feel something.

You will actually feel dissociated.

You will wonder why you are paying so much attention to the different lighting designs.

After both shows you will wonder why you feel so numb.

You will remember a chat in the bar. You will wonder if Brecht was on to something with the alienation effect and theatre.

 

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You look at the scrap heap assembled onstage.

You vaguely remember reading the script years ago.

You will think the set looks like the production shots of the original production.

You will see the three men isolated in their spotlights.

You will hear one man talk about how the army trains soldiers to become numb. You will think that’s already happened to you. You won’t be sure if it’s the text. Or the video games you played. Or the films you watched.

You will think this disconnect proves the piece has succeeded yet defeated itself.

You will hear the creative team talk about catharsis in the discussion the next day. You will wonder what was meant to be cathartic about this.

 

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You look at the set. A mound of dirt surrounded by pristine white furniture.

You will love the aesthetic. You know it perfectly encapsulates the contrast between the natural and domestic worlds that the Girl lives in.

You will recognize the Catholic guilt.

You will acknowledge the actor’s technical brilliance. You will hear her talk about the necessary distance between her and the Girl.

You will wonder if you are capable of feeling the feelings this text demands.

You will conclude that maybe some feelings don’t need to be felt.

 

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You remain undecided if this dissocia is a result of the text. Or the direction. Or if it is your own defence mechanism.
You will write this article hoping you’ll find an answer.


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Image credit: Beatrice Debney