For Those Who Cry When They Hear the Foxes Scream is the first play of Charlotte Hamblin and this is a rather very exciting debut! The play is all you want a new piece to be: original, creative, witty and honest. And Hamblin’s writing is indeed incredibly moving, but also brutal and sharp. Good news is that it is also being beautifully executed by antic | face!
The play takes place in a medical isolation unit, where we see two girls: the patient and the visitor. As the play goes on the audience is being left with more and more questions: who are these two characters, what relationship do they have, and why did the patient end up there? But this is part of the excitement! Initially you think that A and B – as mentioned in the programme – might be close friends or perhaps sisters or partners as indeed the audience finds out. A and B have been partners for the past three years, living together up until the moment A had to be hospitalised. B spends endless hours within this unit in order to keep company to A. Nevertheless, it feels that A is trapped in this bubble and even though she seems to be joking about it, she does struggle to stay sane within this quarantine. Indeed, she appears to suffer from a specific condition in which no one is allowed to touch her, in order to protect her from future infections. B visits A every day. Days pass and they have to pretend that everything is normal even though they both know that at some point they have to face the inescapability of their situation. The power dynamics are brilliant to watch; the way they argue, dream or despair. The two excellent performers draw the audience in their memories about how they met and how close they came. But also all these memories they share make the audience realise how unable they are to exist in the real world anymore.
Charlotte Hamblin, the writer herself, is brilliant in her role as the patient – her specificity in the way she speaks the text, as well as her tense physicality does not let you take your eyes off her. She is very well supported by the talented Zora Bishop. The set, light and sound design have a simplicity and yet a power which allows us to focus more on the writing. The clinic backdrop and the plethora of objects all around it create a stark image of A’s isolation; her separation from ‘real’ life and ‘real’ objects.
This is certainly a sharp new play, which in combination with the strong performances becomes a production everyone should watch!