Stuff is everywhere. It fills homes, work spaces and our minds. Much of it is necessary, like clothes and food, emails and light bulbs, instructions and to-do lists. Stuff.
But what happens when the “stuff” takes over? The bad stuff takes over your mind, the pointless stuff spreads round your house, and soon you are a hoarder and struggling to function without the piles and piles of stuff both protecting you from the outside and hiding what is wrong. This is the story explored by playwright, Sylvia Dow, in her latest project.
It is a rough cut performed in front of an interested audience invited to stay behind and critique what they have seen at the end of the play. The five actors hold scripts in hand as they take to the stage arranging themselves initially in a line and then with lead, Carol Ann Crawford, front and centre with the other women behind.
Crawford plays Magda (Mags), a musician suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, following (the audience assumes) the death of her mother and the breakdown of her relationship. Her subsequent anxiety manifests itself in holding onto everything which comes through the door while her sister (Elena played by Lesley Hart), key worker (Molly Innes) and daughter (Romana Abercromby) try to help her in whatever ways they feel they can.
The final member of the cast is singer Rosemary Nairne, who plays Magda’s mother and sings beautifully haunting operatic numbers throughout the show, each causing Mags more and more distress.
Stuff is a work in progress and a number of comments and questions are posed at the end for Dow to consider as the work develops. How long have mother and daughter been estranged for example? Could more be made of the Croatian doll? Where is Elena?
Given the obvious thought and research that have already gone into this wonderfully performed piece it is exciting to think where Dow may take it from here…