I felt very special, I must say. I was invited to a special preview performance of Amy Jephta’s new play Interiors at The Intimate Theatre last night. This kind of theatre is what I want to write about. It is a tiny, independent, original little piece, that is obviously only at the beginning stage of being. It also only has six performances, Tuesday to Sunday this week, so people of Slaap Stad, if you want to check it out you better get your act together.
The blurb about Interiors goes “It all starts when He gives Her a table for their first wedding anniversary.” And that is really what this play is all about. That is where it starts, and that is where it ends, with a lot of relationship stuff in between. Amy has written a delicious little script. It’s cute, wacky and it has an original take on a well worn theme; the path from boy meets girl to ‘WTF is he/she on about?’ It has a kind of Juno quality about it (especially with the choice of music) and I have no doubt it is the kind of play that will have huge appeal for a young, fresh theatre audience. This is good. Very good.
Amy also directs Nadia Caldeira and Bren Belknap, who are the Woman and Man respectively. They are both recent graduates of UCT’s drama department, and here lies my first problem. Neither of them have shaken off drama school yet. Nadia is by far more successful; it’s just in those little moments of tippie toeing between scenes, or ‘physical theatre’ acting that it comes through. On the whole I found her mostly engaging, although I wished that she had made slightly stronger character choices, especially when she was standing still with her hands held girlishly in front of her. Beren, for me, didn’t manage Man very well. His performance isn’t real yet. He falls into big, meaningless facial gestures and drama school (and sometimes even American?) pronunciation too often, and he didn’t really connect to the Man, or Woman genuinely enough. I know this sounds like harsh stuff; I just think that if you are going to try and pull off a two hander then you need two very, very strong performers, since they are it really. That is who you watch and who you have to put the story across.
Amy’s direction has moments of genius inspiration, but there are funny little bumps too, which make it inconsistent. Still, it is a treat to watch and listen to a fresh new voice in theatre. I do believe that this little piece has tons of potential and will grow and grow the more it is put on.
Yawazzi are responsible for the multimedia (which I completely loved) and lights are by Jon Keevy (and they are also really cool; being The Intimate an’ all). One tiny thing though, stage management and designers; I think I recognised that table. It was used in my favourite play of 2009, …miskien? wasn’t it?