Returning to New Diorama Theatre with their rep season of solo performances, The Faction’s Reptember is an exciting collection of re-imagined classics by some of the boldest and most thrilling names in literature. Staged with clarity, intimacy and thought-provoking aesthetics, we explore everything from the works of Aeschylus to Ibsen to Cervantes, and with a clever triple-bill every night, Reptember’s nine short plays will have something for every taste.
Prometheus, Dogs Dialogue and Borkmann create one of the nights of daring solo performances, each play dealing with the pressure of humanity and the emotional state our inner and outer inputs drive us to. In Prometheus Mark Leipacher shows us a man on the edge of law and humanity, bearing unspeakable government secrets and paying the price for them. The text and pace is electrifying, and Leipacher’s playfulness with tone and speed draws the audience in like magnets and is always intriguing to watch, coupled with deliciously dark sarcasm.
Followed by Natasha Rickman’s spellbinding and brave performance in Dogs Dialogue, the evening is a mixture of high tension and comedic hit-homes. Rickman plays a girl trapped in the body of a bull mastiff, and her search for meaning, love and intellect is as heartbreakingly human as it is hilarious. The feministic indications are viciously bubbling underneath, and the play’s powerful ending is a woman’s fight for a voice of her own. Her commitment to the physicality of a dog and the inner dilemma of a wronged woman must be applauded.
The night ends with Borkmann, a slightly more muddy and complex insight to the downfall of a man once seeming invincible to everyone, including himself. Alexander Guiney portraits Borkmann’s inner struggle on the verge of insanity with versatility and drive, but as a play it seems more ambiguous in what it’s trying to achieve.
Directed in turn by Mark Leipacher and Rachel Valentine Smith, the night has a clear focus and a stirring balance of bittersweet humour and human tragedy throughout all plays. The design is simple but hugely effective with especially Prometheus’ inventive use of a ladder and lights.
Reptember is an important event for theatre and literature lovers as it not only exposes the works of great famous writers, but allows new writing talent interpreting these and linking them to a twenty-first century world. The storytelling is clearly driven by passion and The Faction’s eye for detail in text and aesthetics makes this event something you have to catch in September. Nine plays in three days – it’s a challenge worth taking, and it doesn’t even involve any ice buckets.
Reptember is playing at New Diorama Theatre until 20 September. For more information and tickets, see the New Diorama Theatre website.