Classic Cuts: The Yellow Wallpaper
Oran Mor., Glasgow
Mon, 08 June, 2015 — Sat, 13 June, 2015
This novella-adaption is Sandy Nelson’s twelfth Oran Mor show, directed by Sacha Kyle, & the first of the four annual, cut-down plays performed each year at this magnificent and lofty venue.. Charlotte Perkins published this tragic and turbulent tale in 1892, communicating her own post natal-depression through the main character of Charlotte; played to perfection by the intriguing actor, Hannah Donaldson.This is an extraordinary glimpse of what became for many women, and even daughters of the not so distant past, oppressive circumstances that were near impossible to escape from. Delving into the Freudian world of female psychosynthesis that was set by a patriarchal society,the use of first person narrative aligns us deeply and emotionally with Charlotte’s despair.
A play equally for Edgar Alan Poe and ballet fans alike,this play is sumptuously choreographed .The timing is seamlessly well -balanced through the gymnastic energy of 2010 Ballet and Contemporary Dance graduate Katie Armstrong. In the past she has worked with The London Ballet Company and was appointed Choreographer for ZENDEH Theatre Company’s production of HEART, which toured nationally last year.Katie’s trippy performance as the woman-in-the -wall is hypnotic, with angular splits and creepy crawling about the stage which eventually drive our Charlotte mad but not before a brilliant contemporary piece of female dance action that should draw in even the most conservative of dance followers through its poetic fluidity.The music goes from beautifully flowing melody to manic electro chaos as the narrative unfolds. John, Charlotte’s husband (played by Sandy Nelson) shows us just how manipulating and charming a physician can be in his sleep rest and rot therapy.This shortened work can still touch a raw nerve if reflecting upon our contemporary lives.Do we have the power over our own fate in our computer (possible interpretation of the wallpaper?) crazed society where the machine is responsible for exhaustion and exasperation in equal doses? This Luddite thinks not.Stereotypical ideas of gender roles have improved since Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s lifetime but we are by no means free of them so it is refreshing to have a play that at first might not seem relevant and topica, but truly is on so many timeless levels.
Reviewer Clare Crines