A world premiere of a play by Peter Gill about eight women living in London.
It’s impossible not to think you’re the protagonist of your own life. Yeah, you. Reading this. Veteran writer/director Peter Gill’s new play is a gentle and moving reminder that, although we can’t escape our own self-importance, we actually all think about the same stuff: friends who annoy us; wishing we could bring back the past; wondering what’s in the fridge for dinner; whether to get a dog.
In this premiere, eight women of different ages and backgrounds take turns to voice the beautiful banalities of their innermost thoughts. In front of an abstract backdrop of lines and splashes of colour (designed by artist Bruce McLean) they sit on two back-to-back rows of seats, as if for a game of musical chairs. It might be a waiting room. Maybe they’re all ill. It’s never made clear. All we get are short moments that punch into their headspaces as they talk about, well, nothing really.
Gill’s script brilliantly captures the way that our minds flick from thought to thought, often with no connection, channel-hopping from God TV to Dave via Channel 5 in an instant). His static direction holds the production back – the women just sit, only moving to change seats quickly between scenes – but the uniformly strong cast bring out all the depths of meaning from these seemingly ordinary words.
The characters may all be women, but Gill’s play cuts straight to the heart of something universal: our lives are just slow, solipsistic deaths. Where’s the curiosity about other people? Most days it’s just sitting on the tube avoiding eye contact in case, God forbid, someone talks to you. But in everyone’s heads, Gill reminds us, is the ceaseless commentary of our minds: mundane yet made profound by his skill.