Reminiscent of the highly-acclaimed ‘Talking Heads’ by Alan Bennet, ‘Faces’ places a modern and engaging take on the poetic monologue format which we have encountered before in a more comedic format.
The play explores trauma and its lasting effects through four female narratives, each relating to a deep and wider discussion on sensitive topics, such as that of racism, sexual abuse, drugs, loss, homophobia and biphobia.
In its segmented format, it is written with a beautiful sense of humanity and its flaws. Anegada and Sutherland, through their exploration of symbolism and prose, both subtly and strongly lead our empathetic thoughts to the different experiences of their characters. We are struck by the variation and intelligence woven through the scripted dialogue that creates a sense of hurt that many viewers will be able to personally relate to.
In its segmented format, it is written with a beautiful sense of humanity and its flaws
Our four narrators, Laura Garvin-Gomez, Ella Seber-Rajan, Emily Rule and Eleanor Rickenbach, can be highly commended for their work in this isolating format of acting, which they take on board and really mould to create a sincere performance. Their connection with the viewer is undeniable even with the pre-filmed context of this play; the humility within their portrayals is touching and suits the subject matter well.
In terms of the visual and audital qualities of ‘Faces’, the editing by Jesse Rough and Charlie Finney is simplistic yet effective in not disturbing the flow of narrative. The editing and design of the final segment is an interesting twist that underlines the impulsivity created by drug use, whilst paying homage to the Alice in Wonderland style content.
My only suggestion in terms of the physical set up and direction of the play, would be to have continuity in terms of using changing angles for each new segment, as seen in the latter two characters, but not in the first two. This would allow for the play to open up with something just as visually engaging as its end- keeping viewers intrigued. The use of face paint in the final narrative was especially successful in the idea that it mapped out in more understandable terms the hidden inferences of the complex discourse being made.
The publicity done by Libby Horobin works wonderfully to complement the themes and specific references noted within the script and anyone following the promotional page is surely excited for the play’s arrival.
They have opened up the chance for viewers to engage with this play in a manner more complex than just viewership
Brilliantly, Anegada and Sutherland’s vision for this piece has followed through to become something meaningful and personal to them as writers, whilst also reaching a hand of support out to people in similar situations to the shown characters. They have opened up the chance for viewers to engage with this play in a manner more complex than just viewership.
Out of the NNT’s digital plays that I have encountered thus far, this has to be the one I appreciate the most for its success in using an online format, whilst maintaining a truly emotive and expressive performance throughout.
Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2Sd-1p_t-8
Featured image courtesy of Nottingham New Theatre. No changes made to this image.
In-article images courtesy of @faces.nnt via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.
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