Review: Gate Generations, The Gate Theatre Online
3.0Overall Score

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Gate Generations is a digital series by The Gate’s Young Associates inspired by the theatre’s fortieth anniversary. To celebrate this anniversary, five of The Gate’s previous pieces have been re-imagined, responded to or reformatted for a new audience and premiere digitally on The Gate’s website.

The first of the pieces is a scene from Damned for Despair by Tirso de Molina and performed and directed by Rufus Love. Our scene shows Love, awaiting his execution, alone in his cell. Multiple images are shown: Love scoffing food down voraciously; rubbing his muddy feet together on the floor, and this is contrasted with images of Love outside in the wilderness. This short is beautifully shot with overlapping visuals and soundscapes, however, without researching the original story it is very unclear what is happening.

Our second piece is an excerpt from Phaedra’s Love by Sarah Kane, a modern adaptation of Seneca’s Phaedra, and performed by Catherine Chalk and Hosanna Johnson. Phaedra is talking about her son’s depression to a doctor but is disturbed when the doctor begins questioning her about her attraction to her son. An interesting piece by Sarah Kane, but woodenly acted. Despite its short run time, it is hard to remain engaged.

I Went to Your Grave Today’ is a poem written and performed by Lauren Ziebart in response to Death and the Ploughman by Johannes von Saaz. The poem and Ziebart’s performance beautifully reflects on the fragility of life and the pain of losing someone very close to you. As someone who lost a parent at a young age, the calm reflective tone of this poem is highly moving. Loss, when depicted in theatre, is often screaming and howling – in my experience quite different to reality. This powerful piece is raw and unpretentious and that’s its power.

Our final piece, ‘George’, is an audio play inspired by George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London and written by Hosanna Johnson. Ranging from petty fights over shoes to intense chats over the constellations that fill the expanse of the night’s sky. The power of the writing and stories of homelessness is brought out by Johnson’s connection to the subject matter, having once spent time in a women’s refuge. An insightful and well-translated version of Orwell’s book – this is a strong adaptation in the radio format.

These pieces, whilst of mixed quality, are an insight into the immense talent of current young contributors to the Gate, and a testament to an exceptional history and future.

Gate Generations is available to watch online at The Gate’s website.