Kara Sevda

Thu 10th – Sat 26th August 2017

reviews

Kate Plummer

at 01:07 on 22nd Aug 2017

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In the later stages of a nuclear war, sit Celia and Rhys at a bench at a train station, waiting to see if they will be able to board the train, that may save them, or at least prolong their lives. 'Kara Sevda' presents this interesting scenario as a way to open up frank discussions about human nature, and the world that they live in.

This is handled with a mixture of discussion between the 2 characters and monologues that offer the audience a glimpse of their past and their true thoughts as well as what they are telling each other and what they are keeping private. This opens up the interesting theme of how people read each other upon first meeting, and the mistakes that can be made. For instance, Rhys thinks he has the reasons why Celia's last relationship ended all figured out, but the truth is not as clear as he imagines.

The actors are both earnest and compelling to watch both in their interaction with each other and during their monologues. Their relationship and its development on screen is subtly acted and delicately handled. The monologues help build a portrait of other characters from their past and other settings without having to meet or see them,

The production is also very good. Noises of falling bombs and air-strikes create a subtle and effective atmosphere that builds tension in all the right places. The lighting is also effective and creates a situation in which during the monologues, the audience forgets about the other actor's presence on screen and the bench.

The shows only drawback is that despite its conceptual and acting strength, something about it falls flat. It takes a lot of acting and narrative power to captivate an audience for an hour when a cast is made up of 2 people and the scene is unchanging. Be it the plot or the acting or a combination of the 2, there was just something missing that made me fidgety and unable to give it the full attention it deserved.

Overall, it seemed that there is a lot going for this show and things that could make it a highly effective piece of theatre. However, what it had going for it was just not enough to make it compelling.

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Helena Snider

at 10:29 on 22nd Aug 2017

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“The world as we know it has come to an end and everyone is out for themselves and only themselves now”. This sums up the overall tone of ‘Kara Dedva’ – a production that is charming, moving and complex, even if its pace is slow at times.

The play is currently enjoying a level of success, and it’s easy to see why. Written by Lisa VillaMil and directed by Kat Haan, the tour began performances at the Ithaca Fringe Festival on April 21, where it won the 2017 Audience Choice Award. It toured in Washington D.C., and Toronto, and is now in the midst of its month-long run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Despite such success, the production is not at all elaborate. The setting is sparse consisting only of a park bench. There are only two actors to convey the atmosphere in the midst of nuclear threat and famine. Their names are Celia and Rhys. The intimacy makes the tale all the more effective.

The pair meet on a bench and get talking – a somewhat clichéd meet cute. What follows employs several other clichés and stereotypes: boy wants to talk to girl, girl has had her heartbroken, boy wants to save girl, girl protests she doesn’t need saving. There was also a feminist rant, which was great and true, but felt somewhat incongruous in the setting - it sounded like the writer’s views rather than what was in keeping with the character’s general personality.

Both characters have secrets and defences that are slowly unravelled and revealed as the play progressed. I was simultaneously sympathetic and frustrated by both characters. Their inability to open up to one another was realistic but also made the play feel static and stagnant at points; and moreover, it was difficult to know whether or not his was the desired effect.

Writing and direction aside, the real highlight of this show was the acting. Tierney Nolen and William Foote, the respective actors, are utterly engaging and committed to their roles. I felt greater sympathy for Celia at the start, and more so for Rhys as the tale went on. If the characters share a vice, it is perhaps self-indulgence Given that the prospect of an apocalypse is looming, I wasn’t sure whether such a vice was expected or reprehensible. Either way, the depth of characters and their multifaceted personalities was a treat to watch. There are problems in the script, but Lisa VillaMil manages write raw human feeling with passion and insight; and only two such fine actors could help her pull it off.

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