• Amy Toledano

There's A Man In the Woods presented by Somna Theatre

What Is It?

There's A Man In the Woods is a 45 minute one-man show written by Morgan Noll that follows the protagonist during his hiatus in the woods where he confronts inner demons.

What Is It About?

The Man, played with conviction by Jack Tivey, is hiding out in the woods. From what however, we are not sure. It appears many people and the police are looking for him. The Man is very ashamed, frightened, and broken by whatever action has taken place before we find him. We learn that there is something off with The Man's son, Dean. "There is a limit to how much you can love your child". This statement comes across as rather shocking to the audience as we do not know what Dean has done, but clearly it is something terrible, and with the use of the stage setting in the woods, we get the feeling it something sinister.

The Man takes us through his life with his son as he tries to piece together any warning signs that may have helped him save his son. Along the way, he realises that he has even negated his son without meaning to, however, this realisation comes too late. The damage is done, he is condemning his son and thereby condemning himself, leaving the audience to fill in the ending themselves as to whether he is giving himself up or not.

How Did it Make me feel:

While watching the show I had the smallest tickle in the back of my brain trying to remember where I had heard this story before. Finally it clicked. This play takes inspiration from the true crime story of Dean Corll: an American serial killer who abducted, raped, tortured, and murdered over 25 young boys in the 1970s. He had two teenage accomplices, one of which is whom The Man's son, Dean, is based upon. Once I understood the reference I was able to follow the story line a lot more clearly. This production is very ominous and almost macabre. It really does call for a couple of jumpy moments and even some goosebumps as we realise the horrible actions The Man's son has been doing (recruiting boys for their ultimate death). As audience members,  we feel very uncomfortable with the way The Man is behaving and this only increases when we learn about his son's crimes as an accomplice. We also feel pity for The Man because we learn that he tried to be a good father, but that only alienated his son and created a needy child. The piece makes us think about: how much should parents be involved in their children's lives, how do we speak up when we have a gut feeling, and how do we forgive our children for human-less acts? And can we do so at all? 

Anything Else?

There's a Man in the Woods was put on at The Space Theatre (Isle of Dogs) in the round. The stage was covered with real autumn leaves and the audience was sat among chairs and benches in order to place us in the woods with The Man. Art Director Morgan Noll and Stage Designer Hannah Batt, along with the direction of Brad Welch & Annys Whyatt, create a beautiful and chilling forest that upon walking in to the theatre, allows the audience to feel like they've walked right back outside. The use of the space is really ingenious and incredibly well fitted for this script. 

Natasha x

There Is A Man In The Woods is playing at The Space Theatre until the 30th November 2019.

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