Friday, August 18 2017

Published on September 22 2016. Culture
Ladies in the (cara)van
Judith Amsenga acting in the caravan

Ladies in the (cara)van

Live theatre cannot get more intimate than five or six people and an actress crammed into a small caravan. The Allen Key written by Sammy Kissin was built round a heap of bubble-wrap and the innocence of an unattached young archivist shopping for a mattress in Ikea.

The art of Judith Amsenga lay in the gradual unfolding of her assumed personality as a rather neurotic singleton in a hostile world. Building on an aversion to human encounter, she portrayed her very English, very reasonable, prejudices from a position of personal control descending into a nightmare of unintended consequences, reaching towards their painfully emotional conclusion.

If this sounds enigmatic as a piece of theatrical criticism, that is precisely the desired result of this mini-play performance. We are left unsettled and strangely involved in this simple tale of a chance meeting between two sentient beings.

Definitely a performer to watch out for.

A dazzling figurehead

The other play was also intriguing and thought provoking.  Mary Kousie, Mistress of the Seven Seas told the story of an ancient whaling ship’s figurehead. Set in an auction house, this lot , which was supposed to go for about £9,000, spoke to a group of eight interested viewers before the sale began. The story was written and performed by Sammy Kissin . She held the audience gripped, even a eight year old girl. At times funny, at other times very moving, the story spanned centuries and left the eight people in the caravan blown away. If there had been room to stand up in the caravan, no doubt Kissin would have received the ovation she deserved.

photo: Kenneth Bird

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