Bit from London: THE DROWNED MAN

by Lynn on July 4, 2013

in The Passionate Playgoer

July 3, 2013 Evening

 Loosely based on Woyzeck. Created by Punchdrunk.

 This is a fascinating company. They are responsible for many intriguing shows including the New York production of Sleep No More.

 In the case we are in the Temple Studios. As with Sleep No More the environment is all. We enter through darkness feeling our way along the walls until we come to a room where we are given a white mask to wear. We are told to be silent. We go from room to room following characters if we want or just exploring. It’s more involved than Tamara of several years ago. Depending on who you follow it can be a couple in which the woman is cheating on the man and he gets revenge or it could be a couple where the man is cheating on the woman and she gets revenge.

 It is a world full of darkness, treachery and sexuality. A couple dances and clutches each other on top of and inside of a car on a lonely film site. Actresses prepare to give a sleazy studio executive her publicity shot as he touches her face, her hair and other parts of her. There is a funeral. A woman tries to drown a man but doesn’t. There is a scene of wild dancing like line dancing from a cowboy movie. That’s where one of the couples strays.

 When the man sits quietly later on a large sand dune with his arms around her shoulders, it soon develops into him strangling her. He lifts her lifeless body up. She sinks into the sand dune and disappears. Brilliant.

 The various rooms and sites do not have the same incredible detail that Sleep No More had, but it still is impressible. There is a handwritten letter to someone named Marilyn with has some trouble. Is it Marilyn Monroe? Don’t know. There are clipboards with information sheets on the various actors in the film company. Each lists ‘stable’ as their mental condition. But many are on drugs of various sorts. There is no candy room as in Sleep No More but there is a large canister of largish balloons, just waiting to be blown up with hot air. I don’t take one.

 The experience is mind-blowing. I have lots of sand in my shoes. There is no program at the end which is a bummer and we don’t get to keep the white mask which is also a bummer on larger proportions.

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