The Drowned Man – The National Theatre, London
Mind blown is how I feel right now! I went to see the Drowned man tonight and was amazed by this absolutely compelling, intriguing and truly unique performance. Set over a six story warehouse, I was instantly submerged into multiple sets with character’s stockings strewn across the bed, half empty glasses left on the tables and notebooks on the side that you could flick through. As you walked through the maze of scenes, characters would walk in or through and would continuously act on a loop, storming out, dancing, singing and going about there day to day lives.
After a short while you pick up the story and realise what is happening. As you follow round the actors, you weave in and out of a storyline packed with betrayal and affairs. In would walk another character who would leave after an act and I would pursue them as they walked (still in character) to the next part of the story. There was a lot to take in between the fast movement, the story, the set and the twenty or thirty something cast! The woods in particular were sensational and felt like you were in the middle of a thriller! What makes the experience even more fabulous is it is set in the 50’s and follows Hollywood hopefuls and stars as they ‘act’ on various sets within the sets.
Also at the beginning you get provided with masks which makes every member of this moving audience unidentifiable and leaves them with no expression. It is so interactive that masked audience members would sit on the beds during the performance as one of the characters was crying and hand her water to calm her down or feel inclined to hold her hand. It is chilling and at times uncomfortable, purely because it is like nothing you will experience. A stunning, memorable piece in my opinion! I will be sure to go back as I am sure there are sets and performances I missed because it is so hectic but that doesn’t mean I felt I lost out!! By far my favourite piece of theatre I have ever seen, even if I came out baffled!