Some visits to the theatre promise spectacle and some drama. I prefer the drama although I quite like spectacle as well. What really blows me away, though, is the play that gets under the skin, that keeps coming back, that remains vivid months after you have seen it.
When I saw ‘Iphigenia in Splott’ by Gary Owen at the National Theatre in London earlier in the year, I had no idea what to expect. My classical education being somewhat lacking, I was not even guided by the title. Then there was the idea of one person holding the stage on his or her own for a whole performance. It can work well or it can be little more than a storyteller relaying the story.
So this performance by Sophie Melville as Effie was amazing and seared itself on my brain. It is there still. The story of a young confrontational woman who hates the world and wants the world to know it leaves the audience emotionally drained. Things happen to Effie and she hasn’t had the best start in life so when she meets a man who pays her some attention it appears as if things are about to change for her. They don’t. We know they won’t, we know they will get worse but, by the time this is apparent to Effie, we have already seen under the brash exterior and our sympathies have shifted. That this has happened is testament to the talent of both writer and actress.
I can still hear Effie’s voice in my head. What she says, says a lot about the state of Britain and how our politicians care little about the most disadvantaged in society.
‘Iphigenia in Splott’ is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?