Visceral in its multimedia effect, Francesca Francesca is an intimate exploration into the life of the elusive Francesca Woodman. The playful use of sheet, film and camera is beautiful, and one of the most poignant aspects of the piece; it plays with light as it pays tribute to a photographer. A vulnerable performance, its script and actors struggle to relay the complexity of the subject matter within such a short time-frame, the end feeling dissatisfying.
The play incorporates Woodman’s work with an applaudable subtlety; the nudity purposeful, the live camera effective and the snapshot-style flow powerful. The relationship between Hamblen and DuVal tender, there is a fascinating artistic dimension where artists meets muse. Occasionally Francesca’s character is scripted with an almost nonsensical obscurity. Playing with words, Francesca conjures up lyrical riddles which further add to her ambiguity. Whilst the notion of the tortured and fleeting artist is fun; it would have been interesting to hear about Francesca’s work and ideas in language not resembling half rhymes.
Francesca, Francesca meets Woodman during the college years and deals with her tumultuous perfectionism and rejection from Vogue. It is difficult to piece together any sort of continuity from the script, which rises and ebbs in disconnected dialogue. Francesca’s inevitable suicide is seemingly abrupt – whilst this gives the piece its dream-lie appeal, the actual story is floatingly abstract. The two performers give a touching rendition of friendship, their timing perfect, it is only the script that doesn’t allow them to develop the characters emotions. Too abrupt it switches from sequence to sequence without development. Striking physicality and a wonderful stage make this piece worth watching, but with further development it would be an even more tender representation of the life of a talented artist.
Francesca, Francesca is playing at Venue 13 from 22nd – 23rd, 25th- 29th August as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe. For more information, visit the Fringe website.