By Catherine Johnson, Performed by Chapter 4 and Directed by Hannah Stone
On the 18th March 2014, I attended a free performance of ‘A Letter To Lacey’ at Mansfield Palace Theatre (part of the NationalTheatre Connections.)
The play began with an adaptation of The Shangri-Las 1960s classic song: “Leader of the Pack”, sung by the three actresses who play Kara (in different age groups).
The dialogue started with eldest Kara thinking how to introduce herself in a letter to her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend, Lacey (although you never get the chance to see this character). As the play progressed it became clear that Kara, was the narrator of the story which included flashbacks to her abusive relationship with her boyfriend, Reece.
The actresses who played Kara were very confident (but occasionally lacked in projection) and portrayed the character believably. The transitions between scenes were excellent, however the sound for most scenes were exceedingly loud.
The art forms involved in this production were: Dancing, Singing, Drama and Acting.
I attended this event because my drama group, Junkshop Theatre Company were also performing on the same night as part of the National Theatre Connections.
I particularly liked the set design as it was simple and adaptable. For example, a sofa-bed became a car (with the addition of large torches for headlamps, moved around by ensemble cast members), a sofa and later, a hospital bed. Other props used were poles which became the rack of a wardrobe, a shower cubicle and a clothes rail in a shop. The set and props were mainly white including the sofa-bed which was also decorated with quotes from Kara and Reece’s dialogue showing the decline of their relationship in writing rather than just spoken which made it even more powerful.
I felt rather uncomfortable & spoon fed during the shower scene between Kara and Reece. It was obvious from the dialogue and body language that an assault was about to take place without the need to have it happen on stage even in silhouette behind the curtain. I understand this is a strong subject to talk about, however I felt there should have been a warning before the show regarding upsetting scenes. I felt some of the characters were under used e.g. the character of Lisa, the caring, protective friend who wants to help Kara escape the slow and painful abuse she is suffering, feels really important but only appears briefly in most of her scenes.
I felt I could have learnt more from this production as could have been used to help the audience further by giving tips on how to escape abusive relationships or to help a friend or family member who might be in this situation. Instead, it focussed on the main character writing a letter to her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend which would never be believed and probably torn up by Lacey.
I would recommend this production to sixth forms or colleges who may be interested in the topic of abusive relationships as part of their PSHE studies because the struggle of growing up and falling for the wrong people demonstrates how difficult it is to be a young person growing up in this generation. It could be used as a starting point for discussion about this topic and extended to include learning about organisations that are available for people in abusive relationships.
I plan to share this review via my blog & link it to social media sites I use on a daily basis – Twitter, My Blog’s Facebook Page and Instagram.
I hope to attend theatre performances and possibly some other events that are relevant to my Art Practise.