Decade is an enterprising and admirable attempt by ten new writers to represent the 'Nougties' through a series of ten ten-minute plays. Theatre 503 mask these vignettes with a space conjured by ten different artists. Though these offer some interesting visual responses to key moments through the decade, the graffiti, which to all intents and purpose it is, makes it more Dalston loft than artistic statement.
The writing, direction and performances deviate between very good and poor, but the ideas are bold. Anything that so soon into the new decade (has anyone thought of a potential moniker yet?) offers such a wide ranging social critique, rather than a remembrance, lends towards a degree of introspection. Whether or not the plays provide consolation for our fears, frustrations and inadequacies during this extraordinary decade is another matter.
Worthy of note, 2000 is set during a fancy dress house party on the eve of the millennium. A sardonic Johnny (Jamie de Courcey) dressed as the millennium bug considering the end of time cleverly evokes the worlds trepidation about leaving the last millennia behind. “I prefer to stay a little bit frightened...it makes me feel a little bit safer”. Echoing this theme of uncertainty and fear 2004 tells a tale of relationship misunderstanding in the context of the outset of Facebook and its rise to global superpower. David (Sam Marks) steps forward out of the darkness in which he has been looming to reveal the true nature of his connection with an obsessed girl he knows from college. His story is potent, and backed by a solid performance. Claire (Katie McGuinness): “That computer is a window to your soul”. David: “No it’s a fucking shield!” A story of responsibility, not of status, but of one's actions.
To find out what happens when a couple of Guantanamo Bay guards, a prisoner and the latest Harry Potter come together (2007), or why a father and son clown act and a blind man should represent 2008 (perhaps I wasn’t very sober minded that year? Something to do with conceptual art I was told...) then you only have three more nights to make it to Latchmere road.
Hopefully Theatre503 will take the time to develop if not all, then some of these works, which deserve the opportunity to expand and potentially flourish.