6 March 2011

Notes to a Future Self

It was World Book Night last night, I went to the theatre.
It wasn't intentional, it just happened to be a good night to go out. I give (well, lend and sometimes sell) people books all the time, so though I think World Book Night is a good idea I didn't feel like getting involved personally.

Notes to a Future Self was written by Lucy Caldwell, who is also a novelist.
The play tells the story of Sophie, a 13 year old with terminal bone cancer. Sophie (full name Philosophy Rainbow) and her sister Calliope have been brought up in communes all over the world by their new-age mother Judy. When Sophie became ill Judy took her daughters back to Birmingham to stay with Daphne, her traditional, Christian mother.

It was a short performance only about an hour and twenty minutes. It was one that had the audience switching between laughter and sadness. There were funny moments and bits that made me want to cry throughout the performance. The play felt naturalistic and was very emotional, with both profanity and profundity.

The play is narrated by Sophie, who is like a ghost in her own life. The audience never sees the sick child in bed, because Sophie doesn't want us to see that. Instead we see a girl who enthusiastically describes her current life, her past experiences and who walks undetected into the private moments of her family as they come to terms with their new situation and the upcoming loss.
The 4 actresses are all on stage almost the entire time, each inhabiting their own part of the simple, minimalist set. A pattern is established, focusing on dinner at five. A ticking clock indicates the passage of time and the monotony of an existence which is made up of waiting. Repetitive dialogue establishes a refrain which is later broken down as Sophie deteriorates and the others must think of what is to come next.

Further info can be found here.

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