REVIEW – 100, Maskers Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, 22 October 2019
The marketing phrase around this production was intriguing:
“One memory for eternity. One hour to decide. Could you choose…?”
When four people find themselves in a strange place, somewhat confused about how they got there, and then they’re greeted by a mysterious person who tells them they have one hour to choose a memory to relive for eternity, whilst at the same time have every other memory entirely erased from their existence, the four then struggle to each select their one defining memory.
This show is relatively new – it started out as an improvisation that was then developed and refined, culminating in a performance at the Edinburgh Festival in 2002. The Maskers’ production stays true to the original, in that the five cast members perform in a minimalistic setting and use just four boxes, five bamboo canes and an orange to define their different environments, as well as providing the sound effects themselves. Even their costume is basic, removing much of the characterisation available from donning different clothes.
This is Ian Wilson’s fourth outing as a director for The Maskers, and he has done a good job, despite it being a fairly physical piece and Ian admitting that he hadn’t much experience of directing something heavily dependent on the actors’ movements, particularly in defining the scenes.
We are first introduced to Ketu, who is somewhat different from the other characters in the play. Played by Ruben Sanchez-Garcia, Ketu has a revelation that to most people is fact, but in his culture, it is far from it. Ruben gave a strong performance of a somewhat misunderstood individual.
Next comes Alex, a motorbike enthusiast. Played with aplomb by James Fairley, he has some wonderful facial expressions as the character struggles to find the perfect memory to hold on to. Alex is accompanied by his girlfriend Nia performed by Anna Hussey who was very comfortable in adapting to the various other characters required of the role.
Our fourth character, Sophie, played by Joanna Iacovu, chooses a couple of memories from different points in her life, stretching Joanna to portray different ages of the same person.
Finally, the ‘mysterious person’ is played by Sam Hussey, sometimes angry, but often desperate in trying to chivvy the other individuals into making their memory choices.
The five actors worked very well together, and with their director have clearly put in the time to develop this compelling piece of theatre.
This short production was definitely thought provoking, and is well worth taking time to see and, better still, time to contemplate on your journey home. It runs nightly (8pm) at the Maskers Studio until Saturday 26 October.