The performers in The Sun Shining On Her Hands, Anna Rachael McBride, Ash Goosey and Sara Jasmin Page, are apparently playing one character. If they are, then ‘Marie’ is, as she herself admits, ‘unnatural’. There’s something not quite right about one person having an argument with herself, and then appearing to lose an argument with herself.
At times there doesn’t seem to be much difference between this angry young woman and, say, a hypothetical angry young man – perhaps that was at least partly the point. There’s plenty of dance and movement, some of it rather repetitive, depicting what came across to me as a rather severe quarter-life crisis. A lot of jerky moves gave the impression Marie was attempting to free herself from a metaphorical straitjacket.
I must admit to coming close to entering the Land of Nod, particularly in one scene where the audience is sat and waiting, watching a cast sitting and waiting. Others may, I think, have seen that moment in a more positive light, providing some relief, or just a change of pace, from the high energy dance sequences. The punters in the pub below must have been wondering what on earth was going on in the theatre upstairs with a steady thud-thud-thud as the performers repeatedly landed on the floor, sometimes with no musical accompaniment at all.
Some other dance routines were more graceful and beautiful (what a relief to know Marie is not in a state of perpetual panic), but the narrative itself was disjointed. Marie, in effect, stopped being an individual character, and increasingly became a composite of different women who have been treated uncharitably and uncivilly. This production utilises the stage space a little too well, at times forcing me to look one way, then the other, as though watching a tennis match – the show is performed in the round, or rather, as close to being ‘in the round’ as it is possible.
There are nine musical compositions, but it felt like fewer, perhaps because the dancing was often so intense I failed to notice there were (recorded) lyrics being sung too. The dancing drowned out the narrative too for me. A highly unconventional show, I’m fairly sure there was a plot about a woman that seemed closer to Nora Helmer in A Doll’s House rather than Marie in Woyzeck, the latter play being the source material. But all I could recall was some extraordinary dancing, and I wonder if the already spartan dialogue (or should that be monologue?) should simply be stripped out altogether and this show revamped purely as a dance production. Less can sometimes be more.
A pleasant enough hour, The Sun Shining On Her Hands has the potential to be more thought-provoking than it is as it currently stands.
Review by Chris Omaweng
Following the Company’s successful work-in-progress performances at The Rag Factory in June, Trip The Light Theatre are thrilled to be bringing the developed and final production of ‘The Sun Shining On Her Hands‘ to The Bread and Roses Theatre this December.
Exploring the character of Marie from Georg Büchner’s expressionist play ‘Woyzeck’, this original physical theatre production explores the themes of gender identity through the use of contemporary movement, original music, and a combination of old and new texts, including real-life accounts of gender discrimination.
Co-Producer, Composer and Performer: Sara Page
Performer: Ash Goosey
Performer: Anna Rachael McBride
The Sun Shining On Her Hands
Tuesday to Saturday, 1st to 12th December at 7.30pm