I must confess to having been equally intrigued and irritated by the title. Sillage. (Actually, not even spell check likes it, and tried to change it to Village.) I had no idea how to say it. Once I understood what the word meant – the degree to which a perfume’s fragrance lingers in the air when worn – I loved the idea of it, but I did find it pretentiously oblique. This can be dangerous for a title of a theatre piece. If people don’t understand it, they might not want to see it. It is pretty risky. But I am a hardened theatre goer. I put my big theatre pants on and off I went to the Alexander Bar to see this piece written and directed by Penny Youngelson and performed by Rebecca Makin-Taylor and Michelle Belknap.
And I was undone by it. It is the only expression that describes the quiet emotional landslide that this piece took me on. The plot is simple; a daughter comes back to her parents’ home to help her mother pack up and organise the move to downscale. The play is their relationship.
Now, it is no secret that I have a deeply complicated story with my mother, and this play was no reflection of it, but I was so engrossed in this dynamic, and felt so completely for both characters, it was like being the third person in the room; the one that was them both. As personal becomes political becomes personal the emotional ripples are both inward and outward, and I kept on wondering who I was, here in this world, in this country, in this city, in this suburb, in this age, in this house. I was taken.
The writing is superb, the direction is clever and beautiful and the performances are electric, magnetic, truthful and huge. I felt everything. Always. It was an hour of me being there, in it.
I have not loved much theatre this year. I have been the irritation of others because I have remained mostly unmoved by the work that has been raved about. But this. This Sillage, is the kind of theatre that moves me.
As far as I know it is on for three more shows this run, but it is going to the Gtown fest. Do not miss it.