Writer: Alice Sylvester
Reviewer: Tom Ralphs
In a bedroom in the Hollywood Hills, Daisy lies back imagining she is floating, imagining she is somewhere else, imagining she is happy. The reality is that she is not quite in the iconic location she grew up in, she is overlooking it from a different side and her life is not all she imagined it would be.
From this opening Alice Sylvester takes us back ten years and lets Daisy’s story unfold from the end of the Summer of Love in 1969 to 1979 where the play begins. The decision to set the play in this time period is a clever one. It allows her to move through Charles Manson, Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski, drawing together a narrative that builds on both Tate’s murder and Polanski’s sleeping with a 13-year-old, that continues to mean he cannot enter America over 40 years later.
These experiences shape Daisy’s life as she can see the house from her house as a child. Her parent’s reaction to it and her own early sexual experiences all seem to be coloured by these events, but Daisy is a child of her time. Audiences can see her through modern eyes, but crucially Daisy can’t.
The questions of Daisy’s self-worth and how she defines it are explored further as the play comes back to 1979 and the distinction between being a wife and a housewife. Each of the roles are defined in relation to the man she is married to in the same way that Daisy’s identity as a whole is defined by the men she meets and the society she is trying to be part of.
The title works as an extended metaphor, with Alice struggling to stay afloat in her world and never really pushing her head fully above the water line. Sylvester has really inhabited the world of the character she has created, no mean feat for someone born almost thirty years after the main events she draws on. The script is a little confused in places and feels like it is perhaps one draft away from being complete, but it is a compelling performance from a strong new acting and writing talent.
Runs until 18 August 2018 | Image: Contributed