This is a thought about TIME, a theatrical interpretation of verbatim monologues that Robin Soans, a British playwright and actor, drawn from conversations and interviews with "extraordinary" ordinary people in the course of research for his plays.
After reading Robin Soans' Deep Heat, I have been inspired by this artwork called Rupture by Emma McNally, a British contemporary artist. It has been making me think about human’s relationship with time and memory.
The clearness of our memories made an impression on everyone’s mental timeline. Some of our memories are blurred, others are defined and they can be considered as “fragments” of a linear process made by “intervals”. Each timeline is strictly connected to our personal experience.
This performance’s aim is to materialize the rhythm of four parallel stories, reconstructing each time line throughout a dynamic theatrical structure built up “interval by interval”.
Each interval depicts a significant feeling or mood of the main character’s story. The link between the stories is the rhythm, while the content changes as each specific time and space do.
Four revolving cylinders on stage mark a sequence of four intervals, repeated for four parallel stories. A timeline projected on the backdrop generates the visual image of the processing intervals.
When an interval appears on the timeline, an echo of the last words pronounced by the narrator resounds in the theatre.
Each story’s peculiarities emerge throughout the process of revelation of the “inside” of each cylinder, step by step.
A standing narrator on the downstage tells the stories, being distant from the content. Indeed his outfit is “neutral”.
Each monologue is accompanied by environmental sounds with a doubtful nature.
Thence the “inside” of the corresponding cylinder to that interval shows the character’s intimacy, a specific “frozen fragment” of a memory in a specific time and space, and his physicality.
I have pick up one of the stories to explain the structure of the performance. The name of the character is Ali Boyraz and he was a hunted soldier.
Each interval is defined by a sequence of effects and actions evoked by the narrator’s words: an image projected on the inside facing of the cylinder, a loud sound and the actor pose after performing to complete the “picture of the interval”.
Following the rhythm of the narrator’s monologue, the revolving cylinders “freeze” their selves one by one in a “static” mode, until the break of the last cylinder which imprints the end of a story in the sequence of four.
The transition between the intervals is marked by the narrator’s speech, which works as a piece of music made by slowing down and accelerating moments.
The time line rhythm on the backdrop is reinforced by the presence of the “chorus” that walks from side to side of the stage following its cadence. As the narrator, the chorus is a “neutral presence” on stage that doesn’t reveal in itself any relevant detail of the story.
The last story has an unexpected final. It ends with the narrator leaving of the stage to the back of the audience’s seats, as the last interval of the story was blurred due to an action “external” to that memory timeline’s site.