Photo: @Grace Johnstone

MIFTA Season: Do Not Disturb

Full of humility and humour, Chloe Weare’s Do Not Disturb was a play about love, confinement and pot noodles. In the intimate setting of their Travelodge home, the lives of Margot, James and son Henry were presented under a microscope as the ins and outs of their daily lives unfolded in front of the audience.

We witnessed the characters shower, dress and undress, eat and sleep in front of us. The mundane and menial routines of daily life infused with Weare’s sharp and witty dialogue made for a gritty representation of frustration with life, love and circumstance.

All the cast gave stellar performances. Orla Quilligan played the frustrated and misled Margot who sends herself down a path of self-destruction in a misguided attempt to escape the disappointment and boredom of her life. Margot is equally likeable and disdainful, as Quilligan played the contrasts in the character perfectly, from loving mother, to cheating spouse, to phone sex worker at the drop of a hat (or the slam of a hotel door).

Playing the Ukrainian hotel cleaner Domino, who also happens to be Margot’s secret lover, was Kate Gabriel. She played the transition from meek and mild cleaner to headstrong and feisty lover beautifully. Rory Greenwood balanced comedic timing and naturalism to a T as the endearing and seemingly oblivious husband, James.

A stand out moment for me was the tender interactions between Margot and James’ teenage son Henry played by Adam Tutt and his love interest Lily, played by Ruby Hines. The pair both gave an incredibly convincing portrayal of the nerves of first love and a first kiss. Their scenes were playful and funny, whilst remaining incredibly natural and endearing. This provided much welcome relief from the downhill spiral of the relationship between Margot and James. Hines characterisation of the bubbly, youthful Lily was impressive. In a moment where James confronts his mother, Tutt gave an emotionally charged and incredibly powerful performance as a teenager going through puberty.

Undeniably bold, the direction (by Ellen Kaye and Grace Johnstone) was unafraid to play with silence. Many moments were dramatically static and uneventful which brilliantly captured the monotony of life whilst building the tension, which was palpable.

The set was particularly effective as various domestic paraphernalia lay haphazardly around the two beds. This gave the effect of a hotel room, barren of anything precious or sentimental, yet cluttered with the day to day items of life on the bare minimum. This one room set was claustrophobic, entrapping characters and audience alike in a life with no visible way out.

Do Not Disturb was a powerful representation of human nature, our ability to fall in and out of love and, the delicate and breakable nature of our lives. Weare leaves her audience questioning what can be picked from the ruins when it feels as if everything has crumbled around you.

Tags: MIFTA, Student Theatre, student writing, UOM Drama Society

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