Pink Mist by Owen Sheers
Teddington Theatre Club
Hampton Hill Theatre - 23 October 2018
Dramatic Narrative in Motion
by Owen Sheers
Teddington Theatre Club at the Hampton Hill Theatre until 27th October
Review by Celia Bard
On display in The Temple Church in London is a poem entitled “A Phantasy” written by a little-known poet, Will Hastwell, who’d once served as a chorister in The Temple. The poem’s brutal imagery and harsh word sounds clearly reveals the deeply disturbed mind of this young soldier. On Easter Sunday 8th April 1917 this poet soldier was killed in the trenches in France, most likely dissipating into a fine cloud of blood entering the atmosphere, creating a ‘pink mist’, the title of this play. Since then countless numbers of soldiers have died or have been physically disabled. From the onset of the play, like the poem, the audience is faced with the terrible reality of war and its aftermath. Nothing has changed since that War, the one that was supposed to End All Wars.
Pink Mist tells the story of three young men, Arthur, Taff and Hads, who are deployed to Afghanistan after enlisting to get away from their homes and monotonous lives. The play is written in verse and, like the poem referred to above, the rhythmic lines imprint themselves on the minds of the audience. The drama is based on interviews with recently wounded men and their families. The authenticity of the experiences of these men shine through the drama with stark reality.
This highly dramatic narrative proem provides a wonderful opportunity for physical drama and the innovative choreographed movements and gestures of the actors, the backgrounds sounds of war, atmospheric and vivid lighting all succeed in assaulting the senses, pulling the audience into a hypnotic alliance with the actors and the characters they portray.
The verse is powerful and rich in imagery. The rhythm and sound patterns contribute to the sense of horror and futility experienced by the three soldiers who join the army as boys but soon mature into revengeful fighting machines. The verse has such a strong mesmerising quality, you hardly dare to breathe, so compelling is the dramatic quality of the poetic lines, the imagery, the action, and the acting.
Read Celia Bard’s full review at www.markaspen.wordpress.com/2018/10/21/pink-mist
Photography by Sarah J Carter
Pink Mist by Owen Sheers Teddington Theatre Club