The Space, live-streamed performance (venue)
20 February 2021 (released)
When we are all in the midst of a nationwide lockdown, this is a brave choice of subject matter. Exposing as it does, the disturbing life of a young woman held captive. Willa has been physically and mentally abused by her controlling parents for the whole of her 30 years. By staging this now it guarantees this one woman play will have a resonance with its audiences, as we too live through our own period of isolation.
Gabrielle Mac Pherson wrote and performs her own work here with total conviction. It is a heady mix of innocence, perverse honesty and brutality, revealing the terrible life that Willa has endured. The writing is confident and at times even poetic , with striking visual images that live with you long after viewing.
The action takes place in a witness protection suite. Where, she rampages through various boxes of papers and artefacts searching for evidence of her very existence. The staging however, was somewhat confusing. Having an obvious theatre set and lighting sat in the space, whilst using the rooms real doors, didn’t invoke the story’s location.
Also, the use of recorded voices of her parents on a Dictaphone, gave variety to the evidence but felt awkward within the style and location of the play.
At 75 minutes, there were some moments when the monologue format and retelling of Willa’s early life, made the tension of the piece dip. However, in the later stages, when she was questioned by the ‘voice of authority’ it really sparked and became totally absorbing.
Having this streamed live and viewed on screen added much to the voyeuristic qualities of the story. With the moments of revelation feeling or the more personal.
This is a thought provoking and strongly performed piece, that some might find a difficult watch in these current times.