Struggling to find work, bored, angry and obsessed with technology and sex: a bunch of today’s Generation Y speak to us in this series of monologues created by graduates from the University of Warwick.
This isn’t just any student end-of-year show, however. ‘Nothing’ is a fiercely confrontational and intelligent piece, with a disarming truthfulness about the way we live today. And in an intriguing move, no two shows are the same. At the start of the performance, the audience are asked to pick two names, and those two actors stand up and play Paper Scissors Stone to see who will begin. It’s a nifty staging which enhances the immediacy and realism within the text.
Audience and actors all sit on chairs scattered about the stage; before the monologues start, it’s impossible to tell who is a performer and who is just there to watch. There are tales of porn-obsession, a woman who starts to shit on the doorsteps of the people she hates, of a man who discovers a body in an alleyway and a boy who thinks it’s funny to take the piss out of his depressed friend.
Lulu Raczka’s script is strong, often shocking and never predictable. Each of the characters in it are recognisable, their drifting, unhappy selves are an amalgamation of different parts of people we all know. Nothing – a void, a sense of complete pointlessness – surrounds each of these stories. Yet by the end, this emptiness is turned on its head and something – a glimmer of potential, perhaps – arises. Judging by this show, the kids will be alright.