Eight characters stand in a line waiting to see who will be chosen for the day’s performance. Four will get the chance to present their monologues and today’s selection includes a prostitute for the upper classes, a gay man dealing with the suicide of his partner, a 17-year-old getting more than he bargained for on a gap year to France and a young woman in a dead-end relationship. Apparently there is a daily vote for the four monologues the audience will see but how and where this takes place is unclear.
The play was written by Ella Hickson as a way of “(examining) the impact of a sex, image and commerce-obsessed society” and the first monologue chosen for today’s performance plunges straight into issues of class and the financial crash of 1992. ‘Millie’ is a prostitute for the upper echelons of society and her performance is amusing, disturbing and moving in equal measure as the audience discover all is not as it first appears.
The second character seems to have a moving story to tell but there is a lack of connection with the monologue and too much fidgeting to really grab the attention of the audience.
Next up is ‘Jude’, a young man who falls for an older woman in France and just as his dad told him before he left: “you will leave a boy and come back a man.” The actor has a witty touch which adds to the piece and he is believable in the role of 17-year-old ‘finding himself’ in the big wide world.
And finally the audience meet a young lady who at first might seem as if she is the destructive one in the relationship but it is in fact the relationship itself which is destructive.
As a commentary on societal issues Eight is a varied piece but it is difficult to comment on as a complete structure when essentially only half of the production is ever viewed. Perhaps the greatest comment on society is that in the ten years since the piece was written the issues we face have evolved thus rendering some of the monologues a little out-of-touch.