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This Time Is Now begins with the three characters in separate screens. Jen appears very busy. Jamie is wandering around his home, half-dressed and uncertain. Marcus is having a drink, but there is no feeling of relaxation. He is drinking outside and drinking alone. We come to realise that the three characters work in the same establishment but are, due to lockdown, now working from home.Joe Meegan writes this story, so simple on the surface but deeply complicated underneath, in a heartfelt, honest and very emotional way. The script has comedic elements, but director Robert Thorpe-Woods keeps the focus on the characters’ feelings, which results in a very powerful performance. The early shots of the characters, which are repeated at the end, prove even more telling than they seemed at first. Emily Rose Ambler is a practical but caring Jen, Daniel Chrisostomou is an endearing Jamie, and David Mildon is a bossy and rather domineering Marcus.
Seaside is a monologue, with the words onscreen. Manon is waiting by the sea. She is meeting her mother, whom she’s never met before as her mother gave her up for adoption when she was a baby. Martha Reed’s writing is full of powerful emotion and perfectly captures Manon’s feelings, uncertainty and doubts about the decision her mother made – and the decision Manon herself made in arranging to meet her.
Directors Gwenan Bain and Alice Eklund have kept their interpretation of the piece simple and seem not to have asked for strong emotions, concentrating on what is there in the script, which makes the piece all the more powerful. In the background, Nicola T. Chang’s sound design gives us the gentle sound of the tide ebbing and flowing, just as Manon’s thoughts might have ebbed and flowed, but always coming back to the question of why she was adopted. Nadia Wyn Abouayen’s Manon seems lost and uncertain but also terribly brave and there is also a strong sense of Manon’s being a very thoughtful and lovely young lady.
My Heart Is Not Home tells of a moment in a car park; one of many such moments. The main character is at a metaphorical crossroads in her life; her unhappiness is certain, yet she does not know what to do about it. Little happens, but Clare Campbell’s writing is filled with a compelling honesty that grasps the listener’s attention and does not let go.
It could have been a rather panicked, desperate monologue, but director Chris Hallas has chosen to have a layer of calm, at least on the surface, which makes the story seem even sadder. Emma Bown performs the script beautifully and plays the character well, calm on the surface but with turmoil underneath and a rather heart-breaking end.
I would like to be clever like Cal and find a link between the three plays, but I’m not sure I can! All I can think of is that Jamie, Manon and Emma Bown’s character are all preparing for a very important conversation with someone who is or has been or hopefully will become very important to them. These conversations could dramatically alter their lives, either for the worse or for the better.
Another excellent and very varied selection of short pieces from Kickitdown Productions.