Live Witness Theatre deliver a new interpretation of theatre suited for the age lockdown.
During lockdown people have either been forced to go without seeing their nearest and dearest, or have been forced to see them every second of every day. It’s taken a visible toll on many.
Following three couples during lockdown, Hayley Scott’s play pillowtalk explores these pressures. It unveils each couple’s attempts to learn how to live in one another’s spaces, as they familiarise themselves with each other’s idiosyncrasies and insecurities during lockdown. Eight episodes long, with each episode lasting from two minutes to 10 minutes in duration, the conversation ranges from intimate confessions to jovial philosophical conundrums.
Pillowtalk is a time capsule of the vulnerability felt during this unprecedented time. Scott’s ability to capture the rawness of emotion, combined with the nervous energy experienced in new relationships, is tantalizing. The very essence of the emotional and mental strain lockdown has had on intimate relationships is fresh in Live Witness Theatre’s production.
Despite a heavy reliance on technology during production, the piece conveyed the intimacy of human connection during lockdown flawlessly. Filmed in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and London, director Keir Aitken does well to meet the demands of online theatre. He provides the audience with various forms of multimedia to contextualise each character’s experience – for example, the characters’ Spotify playlists, news articles, and diary entries. It’s visually enjoyable too, with each scene’s colour palette evolving as the characters’ relationships evolve – masterfully setting the stage, even within the limitations of an ordinary household. An aspect that was particularly enjoyable was the yellow and blue colour contrast in the scenes depicting Grace and Tom’s story – reminiscent of the art of Van Gogh, which evokes a notion of mental struggle and the anguish that accompanies unrequited love.Despite the limitations of lockdown, the quality was fantastic. Each scene was shot in a single take, drawing the audience into the scene, upholding the authenticity of live theatre, rather than appearing artificial. The only way in which it felt inauthentic were the occasional moments of heavy-handed acting, which felt like they were being performed to the back row, with some of the deliverances feeling too forced for the intimacy of the scene. Nonetheless, Live Witness Theatre approached pillowtalk with untainted attention to moments of ordinary, yet precious feelings of unrequited love, anguish, ecstasy and inertia. This is definitely worth watching, as it delves into the very depths of human nature. You can find it on their Facebook event ‘Live Witness Theatre presents: pillowtalk’ or on their Instagram page @lwpillowtalk.