Skip to content


The Chair
Published on Monday, 10 August 2009

The Chair is a piece of physical theatre that shows promise, but doesn’t quite deliver on it. Set against the backdrop of the 1940s, it tells the story of one man’s struggle against his past, the heinous crime he commits, and the payment he must make for it.

With three females and one male performer, it’s clearly a woman’s world in The Chair. The Prisoner (Nasae Evanson) is so belittled by these woman, that with a mere shake of the head or a glare, he cowers and backs down. Being hemmed in by such a small space is appropriate for this piece, and while there are moments when The Prisoner fights back, it’s hard to believe he’s capable of the crime he’s committed when he's as broken as he is. There is some nice interplay between the Guard and the Prisoner, but it could be built on.

Gesture features strongly in The Chair. Hands clean the dirt off a table, they try to clean the guilt off a man, they slap and they strangle. Sometimes they play games, sometimes too they caress. But while it’s heavy on gesture, The Chair is short on dance choreography. Character-driven, it looks inward emotionally, yet doesn’t articulate as much as it might through the medium of dance.

The performers all have presence. Nasae Evanson and Raquel Gaviria (The Girlfriend), in particular, have strong dancing styles - and their duets are enjoyable, with lovely moments of humour. But the dance doesn’t take flight; nor is it fully used to express such high emotions as love and murder. Likewise, the climax lacks intensity; it could end on a far more dramatic note. The jaunty 1940s tunes and the more ambient contemporary music, though appropriate in parts, could support the climax more by building in intensity.

Then there’s the titular chair of this piece. All the while through this show, the chair itself sits centre stage, and waits. We are left questioning its presence and meaning until the end.

While The Prisoner’s fate is decided, there is a sense that Love is the great redeemer. An absence of love seems to define the Prisoner’s current relationship with his Mother - but in love, he is a gentle man. While his past is not entirely clear, it must be that the love he receives is a little too late.

<< Ophelia (Drowning)   Picaresque >>