Little Sister

You know this is going to be fascinating, very visual and gritty as soon as you see the set.  A woman sits with a long rope twisted around her, a man’s hands are just visible in a bath of stones, a cello lies shattered on the ground, one body face down, another with his head in a bucket.  The entire set covered in brittle, cold, dusty stone.  The play opens and the woman tries to reassemble the cello with sticky tape.

Throughout Little Sister, barely a word is spoken.  Two monologues exist as thoughts, one verse of a song is repeated over and again.  A cello plays intermittently.  It’s beautiful and disturbing to watch, but this is not just visual art; it’s theatre from people without voices.  We watch real lives unfold in minute detail with strong visual imagery.  Grey, red and black are dominant.  The set is marked by an absence of water; the first time water appears it turns to blood, at other times it exists as soot.  Possessions are treasured.

‘Over the past 18months artist and performer Mark Storor has been visiting the Royal Exchange Theatre to work with community performers and artists from Tameside Women and their Families Centre, The Royal Exchanges Progression Group and City of Sanctuary’s Conversation Club (for refugees and asylum seekers).’

The mix of professional performers (who provide the structure and visual impact), and community performers (who provide the human focus) is really effective.  The overall effect is powerful and emotionally engaging.

As I came out I heard comments including ‘Visually spectacular … but I’ve no idea what I’ve seen’.  But I think we do know what we see.  This is a production about a world we may not understand except through photographs and news snippets.  But it is a world inhabited by people with hopes, fears and deep scars; what we see builds a bridge between worlds.  It’s a remarkable production; deep down it should affect us all.

Little Sister is at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, from 4 – 7 August.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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