Section 2 explores a subject that has great importance in our society. Sectioning under the Mental Health Act is a subject matter that needs to be depicted more often in theatre. This production is developed by Paper Creatures Theatre Company under the Bunker Theatre festival Breaking out, a festival supporting emerging theatre companies.
Section 2 brings awareness to mental health thoroughly by working with the charity Mind which is admirable. The playwright Peter Imms uses humorous dialogue that keeps us engaged and creates a bond with the characters. The narrative Imms has constructed is static and doesn’t structure a sense of a journey for any of the characters.
The directorial choices by Georgie Staight gives the story clarity, but the character interactions and relationships feel bare. The physical engagement of characters is forced and portrays a truthfulness but no feeling. The actors Nathan Coenen, Alexandra Da Silva, Esme Patey-Ford and Jon Tozzi use body language to show the dynamics of the characters which suggests that there are clear tensions in the relationships however, there is no physical interaction and at certain points it seems that actors are looking for something to do physically on stage.
The pauses in dialogue are a little longer than they should be which adds to the bareness of this production and the pauses feel like an awkward silence. Silence is used as a technique of alienation at the beginning alongside at the end and the reactions of the audience is entertaining.
The transitions are swift and shows the progression in time which is a significant part of this story. The transitions embody the feeling of physical interaction that the central scenes need.
The music used in Section 2 is enjoyable and effective. Benjamin Winter uses beats to enhance the themes of this play; the sounds are percussion based which complements the use of repetition in the narrative, as one of Cam’s traits is repetition. The sound designer Winter elevates the transitional scenes that gives the production ambiance and a strong dynamic.
The set design by Justin Williams & Jonny Rust is minimalistic and simple, but does not express the setting of the play without the dialogue. Visually, the set does not portray Cam’s world as effectively as it could.
Section 2 at the Bunker Theatre is commendable in its purpose, as the theatre company Paper Creatures is using theatre to create a discussion. The fact that the theatre company is raising money for the charity they are collaborating with is commendable. However, due to the company taking a truthful and functional approach towards this production, it has chipped a little from the theatricality. But so be it, because Paper Creature knows their intentions and the Bunker Theatre is supporting emerging artists.
Section 2 is playing at The Bunker Theatre until 7 July
Photo: Tim Hall