VOiD presented by Tutti Tutti Productions
What Is It?
The new solo performance from Tutti Tutti Productions, created and performed by Sophia Capasso and directed by Bruce Webb, debuting at the Vault Festival.
What Is It About?
A psychological thriller that explores our culture’s inherent sexism whilst touching on the wider issues of how mental illness is treated and handled within society and the medical profession. Ali is a troubled and unhinged young woman whose breakdown following a sexual assault leads her to attack and murder a young man. Was the man she killed her attacker or was it a tragic case of mistaken identity? Sophia Capasso takes us on the emotionally charged journey of Ali’s unnerving story.
How Did It Make Me Feel?
In the dark and dank recesses of the Pit in the Vaults, the disturbing narrative of VOiD is brought to life by the talents of its single performer, Sophia Capasso. This grungy, somewhat gothic space beautifully lends itself to the atmosphere of this show, making its audience feel like we are watching the dark underbelly of society’s taboos within the literal underbelly of London.
The true strength of this show lies in the talents of Capasso’s performance. She is an electrifying presence on the stage, bringing a frenetic and frightening energy to what is clearly a very disturbed character. Her rage is pulsating, her grief heart wrenching, and the way in which Capasso embodies the other character Ali interacts and highlights the nuances of her performance.
Yet, for all Capasso’s talent, there are elements of the show that did not sit entirely comfortably with me. Though the lighting design is beautiful, the use of blackouts between the episodes of Ali’s narrative feel somewhat heavy handed and break up the flow of the action. Equally, the way in which the script handles Ali’s mental health is troubling. Her condition is never truly defined and there seems a sort of generalised view of her illness. Is she schizophrenic, psychotic or all of the above? While of course mental illness can be difficult to define, there feels like there isn't enough detailed research into this area, and that her mental illness becomes a mere plot point.
While her fight against the anaesthesia of being medicated for her condition works in the context of a feminist argument against silencing a woman’s voice, the stigmatising of those who choose to manage their mental illnesses with medication seemed to be on the borderline of this aspect of the plot. Of course medication is not for everyone, but for some it is a vital part of their living with their mental illness.
For these faults, this is still an engaging and powerful piece that is executed with precision by its highly talented solo performer.
Though the script could use some nuancing with regards to its protagonist’s condition, this is a powerful hour of theatre that highlights the talents of Sophia Capasso.
VOiD is playing at the PIT, VAULT Festival until the 2nd February 2020.
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