Notch presented by The Thelmas
What is it?
Notch is a new and original one woman show by writer/performer Danaja Wass.
What is it about?
We meet our protagonist in a very abrupt way as she lurches into descriptive storytelling. We learn that she is an immigrant in Ireland facing some unique struggles that we don’t often hear about in the theatre: people who immigrate for performing only to find themselves truly homeless; or “rough sleeping”. The general population knows the story of immigrants who move and may struggle to find work or a home. The general population knows the story of the people who move to make it in the big city. But never do we hear about the extreme meeting of those two consumerism, and that is because we, as an audience and population, don’t want to see it.
Wass takes us through her life of odd jobs, hostel living, sexual assaults, desperate friendships, and living the dream. Through her writing and performance, the audience is shown a first hand account of a true behind the scenes of what happens in people’s lives.
How did it make me feel?
For a show with heavy subject matter, it does provide a lot of chuckles. Wass, a Croatian immigrant, does a phenomenal job at capturing the Irish humour and making it her own.
The show is also quite relatable to anyone who may have immigrated, has immigrant family members, knows Irish people, or is Irish! Wass is a very clever writer to provide glimpses of everyone and reflect both cultures from which She is now apart of.
It also provides self reflection; how many people do we cross paths with and never fully understand the depths of their despair or need for help? Wass creates such a personable and loveable character that the average person would never question that she was down on her luck. This is important to think about for those who have the upper leg.
Where is it playing?
The Crypt at the Vaults. I found this to be so fitting. Even the connotation of the word “crypt” is perfectly suited for a performance about a person whose life is spiriting out of control. Wass’s character’s mental health declined throughout the show and the irony is not lost on me that it ends in the Crypt.
Additionally, the small intimate setting of the Crypt works very well for Wass’s story telling. It’s almost as if she is letting just a few of us in on her present torturous situation. There is also constant use of a TV set which represents her romantic interest and the constant buzzing going on inside her head. In a small space, it is clear to see this.
Wass is a fantastic emerging writer and performer. She is beautifully directed by Madelaine Moore, who seems to understand Wass from the inside out, making this a true marriage of director/performer partnership.
Notch is playing in the Crypt, VAULT Festival until the 23rd February 2020.
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