LSE drama society’s ‘Blake’s Doors’ opens with a monologue describing how much the character enjoys listening to other people’s conversations on buses, as he gets a thrill from not knowing anything about their past. This is the perfect introduction to a play founded on precisely that principle. The play goes against the traditional beginning, middle and end setup of theatre, instead throwing us into the action and giving the audience few insights into the history of any of those involved.
This man is visiting a childhood friend, Blake, in hospital. The play provides a snapshot into the isolated lives of three hospital patients as they read, watch television, but most commonly, gaze out of the window and watch the birds in the sky and the strangers on the street. Blake shares a room with an older lady, who spends most of her time sleeping, waiting for visitors who never arrive, or making interesting observations about the people around her. The final character is Xylo, deemed a madman by Blake, but as the old woman notes, ‘too much sanity may be madness’.
There is not one weak link in the production, as all four actors are perfectly suited to their roles, not to mention the sound and lighting, which could not be faulted. A television in the corner provides an unconventional method of adding depth to the play, as one broadcast features a gentleman discussing how life (just like the play) has no plot, but rolls on, with ups and downs. The play comes to a close with Blake and Xylo sitting at the window watching people get on and off a bus. Xylo explains that looking out the window reminds him of life, and it took applause from the sound and lighting desk for us to realise the play had come to an end.
I was one of just twelve people in a theatre equipped for 50, which by no means reflects the quality of this production. It’s the kind of show that goes unnoticed, overshadowed by some of the bigger, more well-established theatre troops, but if this brilliantly acted, clever and original reflection on life is anything to go by, then Revolving Shed are definitely one to look out for in the future.