Frankie is an outsider.
On that basis he has kept himself locked inside a room, inside photographs, inside a time that has past.
Better to be inside, where it’s safe. With the devil you know.
DarkStuff Productions latest show ‘Dark Space Remains’ is a story of three friends Franklin (Frankie), Lizzie and James. Having grown up together, hung out together, got drunk together, their lives at one point seemed inseparably entwined.
Frankie is the friend that never grew up, that never moved on from endlessly getting wasted even when the people weren’t there to get wasted with. When we meet him, he is flicking through images of the past, drinking vodka, looking for answers.
The activity of the play is moved onwards as Frankie stumbles through a narration flicking from photograph to photograph.
Everything within the piece is about containment. The Wardrobe theatre is ‘cosy’ and director Dom Rowe uses the constraints of the venue to best effect – for example when Lizzie realises she is in a room surrounded by pictures of herself the claustrophobia of the moment is intimately felt.
Using the actors to represent the still photographs that Frankie ponders over by ‘framing’ them in white rectangles is also an effective containment device. It enables the audience to ‘see’ what Frankie is seeing: to him these aren’t just images, they are real people. By giving us a still image which then activates to play out the rest of the scene we become as engaged and committed to these people as Frankie.
For a moment his friends are there with him. We exist together in their shared past. But, like Frankie, we can't actually reach out and touch them; they melt instantly into images contained by the edges of the photograph, tantalising but ultimately two dimensional, beyond him and us.
‘Dark Space Remains’ captures life in snapshots - understood and shared in images posed for. The language between the friends echoes this theme – the three use a shorthand of half finished sentences and looks.
This is the first original script for while from writer-producer team Phil John and Simon Williams who more recently have worked on successful adaptations of Sleepy Hollow and Moby Dick. However their ability to find and potentially to define the modern gothic is evidenced in this show which indirectly reflects the way in which our understanding of ourselves and our relationships with each other and with events we attend is ultimately experienced through images recorded via social media.
For one more night only ‘Dark Space Remains’ is yours for the viewing at The Wardrobe Theatre, Cotham – tickets £5.00. No photographs though….