|How to Disappear Completely and Never be Found|
Written by: Fin Kennedy
Charlie / Adam
Lesley Tulley & Mark
What makes you who you are? A name? An address? A random collection of experiences, a few memories? You are who you can prove you are. You are what people think. And that’s the easiest thing in the world to change.
When a young executive reaches breaking point and decides to disappear, he pays a visit to a master of the craft in a seafront fortune teller’s in Southend. Haunted by visitations from a pathologist who swears he is already lying flat out on her slab, he begins a nightmarish journey to the edge of existence that sees him stripped of everything that made him who he was. This extraordinary play follows one man’s desperate attempts to buck the system.
NODA Review by Tony Sweeney
An interesting choice of play based around an individual whose life is dogged by a complex set of circumstances. The lead character is Charlie Hunt; a marketing executive who steals from his employers to fund a drug habit is also racked by self doubt. He meets a man who can help him disappear by assuming another identity and the method for this seems remarkably possible. During several strands to the plot it is unclear if he does this or dies before this can happen or even if he is dead throughout. He does seem to die at the end but the plot was difficult to follow with several aspects that seemed to be somewhat contradictory.
John Laing (Charlie Hunt) gave a huge performance being on stage for the entire play ending with a scene on a slab complete with an enormous chest scar. His portrayal of a man clearly both insane and at the end of his tether was one of enormous challenge which he met well.
Richard Frampton played a number of roles which he switched in and out of with subtle costume and voice modifications, giving the frequent transformations credibility. He supported the main character throughout moving from lost property man to advertising executive with great ease.
Orna Joseph (Sophie) a pathologist had an air of authority essential in the role. Her role required her to come in and out of the plot which in itself must be quite challenging.
Kat Young played a variety of small parts switching effortlessly between roles again using slight costume and voice variations to achieve a real credibility.
Chris Chivers also performed in a number of supporting roles with great skill.
Mark Stannett and Lesley Tulley directed what was a well thought out play. Using the opportunities of playing in the round and meeting the challenges of ensuring the audience could appreciate some fine acting. The space was used well and this added to the validity of the performance.
A simple set and small cast meant the stage management was fairly straightforward and things worked well throughout. The prompt was well placed and called into action a number of times, but given the rather difficult dialogue this was to be expected.
Sound and Lighting
Using a purpose built performance space meant that the sound and lighting were well used and in the main contributed to the atmosphere.
Some props were used and used well but the play didn’t really rely on these other than the end when a mortuary table became the central piece on the stage.
The costumes being contemporary were in keeping with the piece. Some minor touches allowed the actors to switch roles fairly comfortably. The portrayal of Charlie as a senior marketing man was difficult and probably impossible to pull off so instead we saw him as a man in pieces throughout.
This consisted of a single sheet of A4 paper containing rather limited information. It contained nothing about the play or who played which part which might have helped.
Front of House
This was provided by the venue and though very efficient perhaps lacked the warm welcome the group usually gives. The audience were reminded several times to switch off mobile phones which was a plus.