Monday, January 31, 2011
'Sand' 36 Cecil St. (Rehearsed Reading)
'Sand': a rehearsed reading followed by after-show discussion, 36 Cecil St.
What was I doing there?
Well it was free in, and I wanted to see many things so I could pontificate about them here I spose.
There were six women on the stage. Three dancers and two readers and somebody kind of setting out a picnic. The play was in three 'acts'; the first of which had been choreographed, and the other two were just read out by the actors sitting in chairs.
The first act was, unsurprisingly, the interesting one. The style of dance involved three people going backwards and forwards and spinning occasionally. The stage was more or less bare, the style of acting was an impersonal monotone, and the style of writing was extremely repetitious, while all the while someone set out a type of picnic, and although this might sound awful it really wasn't.
'Sand' brings you to the seaside.
The choreography made perfect sense as a description of tide and surf and little eddies and swirls, the ghostly line repetition made sense in this context too. The words, the questions, these little snatches of dialogue came rolling back and forth in an way that also evoked the constant rumbling in/out of the beach.
This was a nice good satisfying bit of 'scene-setting', and a pleasant ritual.
For the second two acts we were left with just the script on it's own- and the absence of movement, acting or any discernable story left me feeling like I might as well have been at mass.
Having seen the contrast between the (rehearsed and choreographed) 1st and the (cold-read) 2nd and 3rd acts it seems fair to say that the context of movement is what made sense of this play and therefore the bald reading of the second two acts seemed kind of pointless, being neither entertaining nor informative.
Based on what little I gathered, I'd imagine a full production of 'Sand' isn't the sort of thing that'd float my personal boat out to sea. The writing style was a bit 'Poemy' and a bit 'Becketty' to suit me; if there was a story there I didn't get what that was.
Having said that, shows don't have to be 'about' things to be engaging and satisfying and, as a pleasant and evocative/medititave bit of performance, the first act did have much to recommend it; also the ensemble cast were excellent. Even though I didn't really connect with it, lot of people did, so I was left with the dissatisfied question that pops into my mind at all rehearsed readings:
Why didn't they just do the damn play?
I shan't tell how the after-show discussion went because I wasn't there.
I'm agin 'em. And this is why
“Sand” written by Deirdre Nunan, choreographed/directed by Mary Nunan,
performers: Lisa Cahill, Laura Murphy, Cathy Walsh and Mary Wycherley.