Recently, I’ve experienced an “epiphany-like” moment whilst reading my blog and reminiscing my theatre adventures so far. I’ve diagnosed myself with an unhealthy addiction to the Big City’s theatre. A place where you can pretend to be financially, socially and mentally rich. London is known as the theatre blogger’s playground and I’m not ashamed to admit that I still love meeting new faces with London as my backdrop. Although my heart beats for London theatre, I forgot about the talents which exists within home turf. For me, home turf means Crawley. When Unmasked Theatre tweeted me a heads up on their play The Trojan Women at the Hawth Theatre, I admired their Twitter balls. It would be rude-boy to simply decline their offer to support their work!
Showing our tickets to the steward, we were told the cast weren’t ready for their audience yet. Aye? Glancing at my Swatch, I must admit I was a little early. Sitting outside the studio, I overheard a few conversations, who appeared to be family and friends to the cast. I always find family support incredibly moving. It must be nerve-wracking for the actors to demolish their family love and step into a character, where family members are nothing more than a paying audience member. Or perhaps it could have the opposite effect: a fiery determination in exchange for family pride.
My noisy Swatch tick struck 7.45pm: Cue the pleading actresses gathering the awaiting audience into the studio. My little sister laughed (she had invited herself to see this) and already claimed her review on the play to be “depressing and somebody dies”. Then again, she’s a devout EastEnders’ fan so her opinion is declassified (only joking…..). I admired the Unmasked Theatre’s refreshing approach to submerge the audience into a drenching darkness.
Being a Friday night, it takes something very spectacular to ruin my “Friday feeling”, but Unmasked Theatre managed to rip the smile from my face (along with my trademark teeth). Based on the Greek playwright Euripedes’ “The Trojan Women”, two lonely tents represent devastated England.
“Water is rationed, warfare has taken the men, and the BBC has ceased broadcasting. In a refugee camp outside of Kent, a group of women await their fate. Amongst them, an aged and dethroned queen grapples with her sense of responsibility, a princess struggles with motherhood and mourns the death of her husband, and a young royal whose early warnings were dismissed slowly goes mad in the face of the unknown and frightening future.”
Unmasked Theatre, 2015
Heartless war possessed men and emotionally troubled women dominate the stage. Relationships between characters were established and then became savagely disabled. The dance routines, including the ghostly husband’s coat and women portrayed as men’s rag dolls choked the throat. Wants and needs became blurred so hysteria and bartering for items, such as blankets, commenced. The dramatic clashes of masculine sovereignty and feminine vulnerability stunned the stage. Although the noise was obtrusive within places, the use of bin bags as props was interesting and incredibly moving at the end. One by one, women were carted off to the awaiting slave ship. Each giving away the last of their possessions to the depths of a bin bag.
Although my little sister’s review was correct, I applaud the Unmasked Theatre’s cast and crew for creating a magical piece of theatre. It confirms the future arts generation is very much in safe hands. It was a joy to watch local talent and to be invited to witness the beginnings of their theatre journey. Perhaps all theatre bloggers should dive into their local communities and celebrate their talent with the same enthusiasm and hype as the London approach.
Learn more about the Unmasked Theatre here