A black studio space devoid of furniture, with the exception of a table and two chairs, is a space that does little to inform an audience of a play's context, plot or characters. This, however, is essential to Threads, as the audience is faced with a quivering shell of a man who remembers nothing of his own life except the room in which he is currently situated. Guided by a mysterious companion, of whom we are never entirely sure what to make, the protagonist, Michael, remembers continuously more about his former life as crisis hits and the threads of his life come together.
Though laden with the potential to confuse an audience, the show is conceptually very interesting. Perceptions change, prejudices are challenged, and not once is the resolution of the journey a foregone conclusion. The returning memories, effectively interspersed in the dialogue, give the piece a disjointed and seat-of-the-pants feeling, as well as mirroring Michael’s schizoid mental state. That these sections were not executed entirely seamlessly - the lighting and entrance of characters could have done with some additional rehearsal - was not vastly detrimental to the plot and can be forgiven due to the strength of some of the acting.
Sweat-drenched and shaking, the lead actor's portrayal of recovering drug addict Michael was both uncomfortable to watch and visually compelling. His relationship with all those around him, including his own mind, came under close scrutiny and was dealt with tastefully and truthfully.
Other parts of the performance, however, were not equally well executed; questionable stage combat, unclear emotional motivation, and the odd garbled line disturbed the audience’s immersion in the developing plot.
However, despite a mildly disappointing ensemble, this play must be marked as an excellent, thought-provoking piece of new writing. Investigative, inquiring, and unassuming, it engages its audience in its mysterious development from the outset, while each new discovery heightens the disconcertion and intrigue. Threads is a rough diamond: not perfect, but with potential.