Writer: Magali Jeger
Director: Monika Matosevic and Magali Jeger
We are all performing all of the time and writer Magali Jeger’s new play suggests we cannot trust anyone. A Blue Something streamed from The Space, explores the concept of storytelling and narrative truth using a fragmented approach in which a series of seemingly disconnected scenes form the life of an actor and writer trying to make sense of his experience.
In a waiting room, an actor called Chris, Lucy a pregnant artist, Mandy who confesses to drink driving and Hervey who rejects his name are cooped up together, but nothing seems to happen. Chis begins a story about a childhood fight with his brother, a relationship with the fiery Mandy reaches its pinnacle in a bar while Lucy and Hervey discuss the mysterious something blue or blue something that is holding them together.
Created and performed by a group of flatmates and East 15 graduates, Jeger’s play is a fluid and elliptical experience; scenes occur at random, there is no clear timeline and the audience can never be sure if anything they see is real. It is frustratingly elusive and difficult to follow, especially from a distance as conversations, dance, movement and monologues are used to tell a story that considers the experience and loss of relationships.
Chris is the pivotal character who is writing in a journal. Is he the playwright creating scenes in his mind that are dramatised in front of us? Aree they memories, visitations, hallucinations that haunt him or something else entirely? Jeger never tries to answer those questions and just leaves these concepts open to interpretation – as Lucy states ‘life is an illusion and you choose how to perceive it’.
But what is ‘a blue something,’ well that is never really clear; it is something inside you, some ambition you have, a nagging voice in the back of your mind. At salient points colour is discussed, a baby is called Blue, Mandy is described as sapphire and there is frequent mention of ‘something blue’ used at least once in the context of a wedding, but the notion never quite comes into focus.
Some of the connections make a little more sense when Jeger adds two concluding scenes that reposition some of the events we have seen and puts them together in a more straightforward narrative as Chris’s past and future are reordered. Yet, the play overall remains almost too abstract in its approach and not entirely successful in staging and creating investment in the characters or their complex, overlapping timelines.
Performed by Gemma Ortega, Ronja Ritter, Felix Ryder, David Westgate, there are quite different demands and backstories for each of the characters that the cast manage well. David Westgate as Chris is the focus and creates a fairly consistent line through the play as an ambitious actor determined to achieve success. Ortega’s Mandy is the biggest character in terms of emotional range and expression, while Ritter and Ryder offer quieter, more restrained interpretations.
This is a quirky piece and clearly work has gone in to creating the inter-relationships between the characters and their variously troubled backgrounds. But there is a lack of clarity around the central concept of the blue something and how it affects the idea of persona that the play is trying to explore.
Runs here until 1 April 2021