This third play in the Edward Bond season takes place in the pubís cellar. We had to go up one flight of stairs, through the theatre during rehearsals for then next play (with the playwright in attendance) and back down two flights of stairs! Itís a hugely atmospheric space with a real soundscape of cellar machinery in action. This fairly recent play is set 67 years in the future. A stranger breaks into a womanís house and she comes embroiled in his world. He owes money to a man who has assisted in his illegal entry into the country; this man may be a corrupt policeman or member of the army in what is clearly a police state. Itís all a bit difficult to get into, particularly as the stranger is played by a dummy with an actor in view speaking the lines from behind and occasionally coming forward to dress / undress the dummy.
I enjoyed the atmosphere and itís well played by the cast of three, but I canít say I found the play particularly accessible or illuminating. - Gareth James
18 Oct 10
I found "The Under Room" a very moving and intense piece. Each actor gave a strong performance of their characters. Each character was from different backgrounds and their paths cross in the cellar of Joan's (played by Donnla Hughes) home. The scenes were explosive and frightening, yet the naturalism of human interaction such as humour played an underlying part. The Dummy was used as the symbolism of the play. It represented every human, every immigrant who had their identity stripped from them so that they may as well be a face without features. None of the characters ever looked at the Dummy Actor (played by Matt Christian Reed) - the real person standing in the corner of the room. It was always towards the dummy, depicting the ignorance of the society . However, there is a strong moment in the piece where this pattern breaks as Jack (Gavin Brocker) does turn to look at the ďrealĒ him. This for me, was the turning point of the play; the moment where maybe changes were potentially going to happen, with "hope" playing a very strong role. - Fay
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