Six audience members join Sam (Shian Denovan) in the ravaged car that she was driving just a few moments ago… or hours ago? Which day is it? Whose car is it? Where is she? What happened?
Both intimate and immersive, Wrecked by Jonathan Carr attempts to put together Sam’s life after a car accident. Created by the award-winning Fever Dream Theatre, this hit production returns to the Edinburgh Fringe to challenge audiences within a site-specific environment. In other words, from inside the vehicle itself.
The car doors shut, and six strangers are left alone with Sam who is passed out in the driver’s seat. Immediately, Denovan drags her audience into a post-traumatic state as she begins to assemble the pieces of her story. Beginning at the end, Sam recounts the moments when her life started to fall apart: her ill dad, running away, her reckless friend Lizzy and their daring adventures in abandoned buildings with the police at their heels.
With the support of various objects and her mobile phone, the interior of the car becomes the crime scene belonging to this lost, young woman. Voice recordings speak narrative fragments which only fall in place at the end. Denovan communicates with herself to make sense of images, impressions and found information. Thus, she creates contours of the storyline which are gradually filled with details. In this way, the audience become both witness and participant as they are made to interpret and finish the jigsaw puzzle of Sam’s life.
Denovan’s performance is convincing, but the line between performing to an audience and questioning the self about the past must be drawn with more sensitivity in order to intensify the show. Monologue’s are thorough and delivered with deep emotion, but sometimes they melt together instead of being separated with more clarity. Furthermore, it is questionable how Sam never leaves the stuffy car to check the damage done from the accident or her surroundings. Although being trapped in isolation is exactly the point of the performance, her comment “something is holding me back” – which only once draws attention to the outside as an unnamed danger – is too weak to justify her behaviour.
Wrecked is a powerful performance, and is captivating in its layered and poetic storytelling. The intimate site-specificity of the car welcomes the audience into a breathless journey of a woman’s identity crisis. However, Wrecked has more potential. It could move towards a braver, more daring and challenging event to further its raw energy.
Wrecked is playing at Gilded Balloon until the 27th of August. For more information and tickets, see here.
Photo Credit: Fever Dream Theatre Company