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Stella Green’s wonderfully gothic and beautifully written one-woman spoken-word piece, You Will See Everything, explores the depths of grief, innocence, love and sanity, in a personal close encounter with Daughter, played by Tilly Botsford. The piece sits in between the works of Sarah Kane and oozing a bleak Shakespearean tragedy.
In an all-white set of cloth, Botsford sits centre screen in what looks like a throne, surrounded by drooping tangles of thick, red wool, resembling ‘blood clots’. The stark white lighting fades her pale skin tone into the backdrop, allowing her piercing eyes and auburn hair to pop through the scene. Although she looks angelic, her eyes never waver from our line of vision, darted with a menace that is chilling, even through a laptop screen.
As we are introduced to her environment, the camera closing in on her face and the red ties decorating her arms like butchers knot’s, we gain a familiarity with the space of the unknown that she conquers. That is until the scene suddenly switches to reveal Botsford in the same frame, but the scene is darker. Her feet and shins appear covered in black tar, and her face is lit to seem desolate and wild. It is then that our perceptions of this reality are altered, as we are pulled and pushed between these scenes of life and death, not knowing which seems most comfortable.
Botsford’s performance is nothing but extraordinary. With every word fuelled with violent precision, we are kept hanging onto her lips as her gaze persists through the fourth wall, addressing us as if we are encased in close proximity. As she leads us through each chapter of the piece, we see a new expanse of emotional disgorge, directing our attention to the hidden mania that we suppress in wallows of grief. Green’s ability to write the traumatic depths of such endeavours in a gracefully poetic and intelligible fashion, should be praised, as she captures the rawness of loss and witty arrogance of Daughter that makes us move alongside her, even though she is perched in stillness.
The eerie drone of the soundtrack wove the ‘thriller’ into each scene, creating a cold silence as the music stops on certain dark cinematic images, that we are willingly forced to watch. Furthermore, the initial shake of the camera gives us an extra element of fear and distortion of the dystopia we are introduced into. The new exploration of camera work within theatre has given theatre-makers a new realm of the digital to augment their performance, and this is definitely an aspect that Green has not shied away from. The camera becomes our safe haven. The lens forms our eyes, and Green guides us around each crucial detail that evokes surprise and yet desire to look deeper.
Definitely Fine Theatre Co.’s final message on the piece, reinstating the possible trigger warnings and offer of support, just adds to the authentic and admirable work that they are producing. The plethora of help that they have provided for young people grieving is an important step in reaching out to an audience, outside of the performance space. Especially with the year that has caused a great measure of loss due to Covid 19, their use of their platform to raise awareness and provide guidance is a brilliant cause that theatre should encourage.
You Will See Everything is playing on The NSDF website until 2 April 2021. For more information and tickets, see NSDF online.