Hear. Speak. See
Back on my laptop at my desk with a south facing view of a Glasgow street I scrolled in and around this year’s online theatre festival Scenesaver. I came across ‘Hear, Speak, See’ by the West Midland production company ‘Expial Atrocious’ made up of three female dynamic actors and writers; Nic Lewton, Ez Holland and Faye Bingham. The show had been performed previously at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Met by a black screen we heard voices from the radio and the sound of breathing. A mysterious character had been invited to a dinner party in seeming innocence but we were given a clue when the invite ended with ‘…you don’t want to disappointment.’ To which the dinner party scene was revealed.
In its strangeness we were in a first person stance because the fourth member of the party was the view from the camera. All in white the other three were at the other side of the table, looking like ghosts or zombies but were in fact mostly human.
They conversed with speed and action moving very quickly from topic to topic as it took their fancy. They seemed fast friends who knew each other very well welcoming us (or the camera) to the party dedicated to the camera.
Dinner was served in the form of tomato soup for starter, salad for main course with a final fate full cake for desert. So went on the conversation that was bubbling together in their expressions of table manners and synchronisation. It was like lots of snippets of real life chat and conversation. But as one left the room to fetch the starter the other two spoke openly behind her back, which was like a betrayal. When she came back with four bowls presenting each there was a silence of awkwardness as they ate.
She pulled a seat alongside the camera to covey her feeling that came out with the tenderness of genuine fear of something. She knew the other two were plotting against her and as her adrenalin
rose her voice did the same and in a panic she told the camera to escape the coming situation.
It was a weird world created by the camera, with weird behaviour but it began to lead to something, tragic. Our detectors were flexed when one of the three in white mentioned that something had happened and that that very moment would bring justice to something.
In its own downfall the plot fit into segments that all led to a specific moment. There was a threesome of taunting and fire fuelled rejections as things became more and more upset. They
landed in chaos on more than one occasion and when the story was revealed it turned the page with a hellish view.
The camera blurred and sound was muffled but she/he never spoke. If it was psychedelic there would have been a guidance warning. It was a view of a view and perhaps a vision. They spent the
consumption of the main meal in silence we watched as they ate their food and emptied their plates, I sniggered a lot.
This story coped well with its arising and experimental offering of a dinner party that was with a crown of weirdness on a darker level. Cleverly abstract, metaphorically unsound with placed and
hidden artefacts, conversations that ran like a ballet and then like a dance. Somehow making total sense of its dream like quality or should I say night mare. With more to offer its bones were ripe and it’s sentiments clear as a celebration and tragedy of a calamitous portrayal.