On the 4th floor of 35 Marylebone High Street, we enter Tennessee Williams’ America and watch a woman (Annie Saunders—also directed and performed in The Vagina Monologues and A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer) succumb to the charms of a man (Chris Polick) under the lights of a working class bar. Pulled by the arms of these actors into the next room, we fast forward ten months where the couple is married: the man, obsessed with the stars and a limitless future, is scoffed by the woman focused on her life right in front of her. Suddenly, the audience is plunged into different worlds of different characters; the whole play is embedded in the tension of love and poverty, ecstasy and deep depression as the actors themselves play various roles from selected texts by Tennessee Williams and Studs Terkel.
The audience walks with the actors around a total of four rooms, all intimately decorated; one room is a poor household, the other a room of wealth, whiskey and ticking clocks. Alongside this work of art, the emotional turmoil of the characters is manifested into a beautiful choreography of physical and sexual tension. We see the stripped nature of each individual; they are more than characters on a play set. Almost dancing in their sorrow, the actors express themselves through stretched body positions and synchronized movements.
A personal favourite is a climatic scene with the third actor on the set, Anthony Nikolchev. This shows two different lovers possessed by sadness and escapism in a hollow grey room with a single bathtub. The characters utilise the bathtub, expressing their emotional state in the constant repositioning of the object. The woman simultaneously confesses her desire to flee to a hotel on the beach—digging her hand in a sand jar, slowly releasing it onto the cold grey floor.
As the audience we may stand as spectators but we also become physically involved with the artists that unleash the depths of a troubled mind—speaking their thoughts with a powerful, captivating force. What is life beyond the realms of work and sex? As the crowd ponders on the subject, the clocks of The Day Shall Declare It tick back and forth.
- Based on several texts by Tennessee Williams and interviews by Studs Terkel
- Directed by Annie Saunders
- Theatre Delicatessen
- Until 1st February 2014
- Time: 19:00
- Review by Sonia Louis
- 15th January 2014