A Sea of Troubles
The Yard Theatre
Reviewed – 12th February 2019
“a work which touches the soul”
A Sea of Troubles is directed, written and performed by Peter McMaster, with choreographic and dramaturgical support from Louise Ahl. It is a work which defies categorisation, and is all the stronger for it. McMaster and Ahl have created a world which slips and shifts, expands and diminishes like the intake and exhalation of breath, and with the expansive logic of a dream. We see what McMaster shows us, on this blank stage, whether it is the men he so powerfully describes, dancing or moving together in performance, or intimate scenes from his own life. And, like a drawing in which everything is described with a single line, or a sculpture in which space itself becomes a part of the object, A Sea of Troubles is a work which makes us pay attention to what exists in the gaps – between words as we say them and what they describe; between being and performative being; between what is and what seems.
McMaster takes us with him on an exploration of what it is to be a man, a father, an artist, and simply a human being, and reminds us of the fragility of ourselves, created as we are in large part by language and memory. He moves beautifully, sometimes with lightness, sometimes filled with almost unbearable weight, but each gesture and shape is imbued with meaning and purpose. His body always has a seriousness of intent, which holds him to this earth, in a way that language cannot.
There are some lovely funny moments in the piece – moments of direct childhood memory which hit the chime of personal recollection for the audience – but ultimately it is as its best when it embraces its own emotional intensity. At these moments, it is a work which touches the soul.
Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw
Photography by Maurizio Martorana
A Sea of Troubles
The Yard Theatre until 16th February as part of Now 19 Festival
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