low key, understated and cautiously paced
There is an emerging debate about this play amongst a number of mystified people, including me. Tadmor describes it as ‘an intimate window into the mind of a young woman, who is struggling to piece together her own recollection of what’s happened’. She goes on to say that ‘you can only tell a story so many times before it morphs into something else, so by the end, who’s to say what was real?’ which is very much the feeling after the fifty minutes it takes to work through the repetitious conversations in pursuit of truth.
In multiple snippets, which rarely reach the level of conversation, Tessa and Sebastian (Julian Chesshire) engage in word games in both their work and real life. There is a disconnect between them that is never resolved. Tessa has no defence against the endless gaslighting and emotional manipulation which lies behind virtually every one of Sebastian’s utterances. Recapping old exchanges it is clear they do not perceive them in the same way and that their interpretations of what has transpired are not the same. Meanwhile the carousel of memories and heartbreaks continues to turn with each party riding a separate hobby-horse they can’t get off.
Both performances are low key, understated and cautiously paced. They possess a haunting fascination but also are also irritating, creating the urge to tell them to get on with it or give up, as it’s going nowhere.
If you’re into placing your own interpretation on the obscure, this could be one for you.