Paul Anthony Morris’s Sarai tells the story of one woman. A woman who addresses the hardships and cruelties of a nation on the brink of war and corruption.
Combined with a stylised musical score, supported by vigorous movements and mime, the audience begin to get a feel for the piece almost immediately. Karlina Grace-Paseda delivers the text with such passion and conviction, whilst engaging her entire body in complex and scattered actions. At one point during Sarai’s speech she aggressively holds her throat and forbids herself from speaking which just goes to show the mental turmoil she is having to deal with.
After watching this performance you will experience loss, sadness and surprisingly, at points, laughter. Sarai uses the space and items around her (mostly consisting of material) to set the scene and mood of the piece. Clothing is used everywhere, from building set, to representing that of a mother’s body that Sarai has been ordered to tear apart in order to retrieve a baby. The use of props are used effectively to represent others in the play.
Another key moment in the production has to be during the end of the play when Sarai hopes to gain the attention of the Egyptian king who is looking for a new wife. Picking fun at the other women on offer, she begins to indulge herself in a sort of contemporary style dance. Music combined with this creates a stunning scene in which the audience feel totally absorbed.
Although marginally good, it is worth mentioning that at certain points in the piece one is prone to switch off due to the length and amount of information thrown at you as a spectator. At some points you miss parts of the storyline due to the deep ruptures of emotion. However, overall it is a fine piece of art and one worth seeing.
Review written by Luke Redhead.
Sarai is currently showing at the Arcola Theatre until Saturday 7th November. For more information on the production, visit here…