…some trace of her is a multimedia production, mixing video and live performance, and developing the techniques that Mitchell used in Waves, her adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s ground breaking novel The Waves, which will return to the National Theatre next month for a limited run, followed by a National tour. Video designer Leo Warner and designer Vicki Mortimer, who worked with Mitchell on the 2006/7 production, resume their collaboration and supply multimedia design for …some trace of her.
In the cast, Ben Whishaw, who worked with Mitchell on her production of The Seagull in 2006, leads the cast which also includes Hattie Morahan, Helena Lymbery, Gawn Grainger and Sam Crane. The Idiot written by Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, was first published in 1868 and follows Prince Myshkin, a character who Dostoevsky intended to be the perfect human being.
Critics had mixed reactions towards Mitchell’s use of multimedia techniques. While Paul Taylor applauded the “extraordinarily compelling” adaptation, many others found it “curiously uninvolving”. There was widespread concern about the comprehensibility of the piece, with many feeling that those who had never read Dostoevsky’s novel would have difficulty extracting any plot from a piece that is “locked inside its methodology”. Ben Whishaw’s performance was generally applauded, with one critic labeling him the “evening’s big success”. Hattie Morahan faired equally well as the “wonderfully unnerving” Natasya, but it wasn’t enough to make many critics look beyond the “dislocated fragments” which some felt made this “enterprise a non-starter”.
- by Kate Jackson