Friday, September 01, 2017

'Yerma' by Simon Stone after Federico García Lorca

1 September 2017

On Thursday we were at Leighton Buzzard Theatre to see the live screening of Simon Stone’s production of ‘Yerma’ from the Young Vic in London. Adapted by 31-year-old Australian director and writer Simon Stone from the 1934 play by Federico García Lorca, this ‘Yerma’ is set in contemporary London and features an amazing performance by Billie Piper. The play tells the story of a young couple (played by Billie Piper and Brendan Cowell) trying to start a family. We piece together their journey through a rapid series of short scenes, each separated by a passage of time (48 hours, a few months, two years) indicated by captions in a way that reminded me of Harold Pinter’s ‘Betrayal’. The dialogue is smart, hip and often overlapping and it took me a while to ‘tune in’ but the effect is very realistic. Indeed Stone does a remarkable job of making an old-fashioned brutal tragedy completely believable in this modern context. The set, by Lizzie Clachan encases the stage in a massive glass box, giving the impression that we are watching specimens in some scientific experiment and creating spooky effects with multiple reflections of the actors in the glass – in a similar way to the set for Polly Findlay's RSC production of 'The Merchant of Venice' (reviewed here in August 2015). The acting is excellent throughout: I particularly enjoyed Maureen Beattie as the unemotional, determinedly rational mother. The script is incredibly witty and the play is often very funny but, ultimately, it tells a grim tale. And Billie Piper, on stage for almost every minute of the play, gives an achingly real portrayal of a life gradually falling apart.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home