• Amy Toledano

Atlantic presented by Emma + PJ

What is it? Emma is at one end of the room, PJ is at the other, there is an ocean between them.

What is it all about?

For tonight the long tunnels of The Vaults are at the Atlantic Ocean. Emma and PJ are trying to find a way to get to be together, to touch despite the distance. Atlantic is an artistic exploration of human connection over physical distance.

How did it make me feel?

Atlantic is a piece full of feeling, it lives and breathes on the tangible and universal experience of missing someone. The writing is beautiful despite being the least important element of this show. It is reminiscent of the continuous babbling of futures and presents and eachothers that we only speak when in love. Atlantic is incredibly well constructed. The use of sound is masterful and subtle. It takes all the bumps and growls of VAULT Festival and turns them into an animal to be tamed, a constant underscore of longing. The lighting follows suit, stark and open as we become acquainted with Emma, Pj and The Ocean, then moody and pointed when we feel the hurt and longing they are experiencing. The set also requires a mention as its simple effectiveness produces show stopping results. Performances from Emma Clark and PJ Stanley are heartfelt and engaging. They are so at ease with each other that every set piece is comfortable and expertly executed. Their familiar style of delivery makes sure this more abstract piece is at no point self-important or inaccessible. Both Clark and Stanley are inventive and playful in the devising of this piece, with encapsulated moments of beauty and humour, their use of microphones as a tangible and audible link between them is particularly impressive. It is worth mentioning that Atlantic is billed as ‘about the tensions between humans and nations’, explained further on their website as ‘[examining] transatlantic politics, nationhood, and migration.’ This does not come across, at least on the first watch. Atlantic feels like a simple and nuanced love story between two people and an ocean and that is all I needs it to be.

Anything else?

Emma + Pj have made an incredible piece that simmers on a familiar feeling. It is moving and perfectly executed.

Serafina x

Atlantic is playing in the Cavern, VAULT Festival, until the 20th February 2020.

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