Written and Directed : Paul Anthony Morris
Until :7 November 2015
Running Time: 90 mins
Venue: Arcola Theatre, London
Dalston, East London
Box office: 020 7503 1646
Photo Credit: Sarah Hickson
One woman’s epic journey to found a nation
This is a fascinating exploration of a body’s ability to represent the inner turmoil of a soul. It is a one hander, played by Karlina Grace-Paseda. Her physicality is astonishing: she gives birth then informs us it is a phantom pregnancy, later squeezes herself to express her curse, then to end the act presses hard the floor to emphasise her martyrdom. There is no mistaking the sadness of her tragedy. Sarai is the infertile wife of Abraham. Her phantom pregnancies denote her stressful response to a prophecy she heard: that she would found a nation. “Remove yourself from your father’s land to a land I will show you and I will make you a great nation”, she declaims incessantly, as if sceptical of its potency, as we would of a fortuneteller’s word.
Circumstances lead her into exile. And here we see the stretch and flexibility of Morris in using mime, dance, and middle eastern melodies from live musicians to tell and perform the story. From the Syrian desert, a refugee camp in Egypt, the Egyptian court, to finally Canaan, the drama unfolds through a variety of roles Sarai impersonates with prowess, and often with humour. Thus the ‘Theatre of the Soul’ style of this company, as stated in the programme, ran throughout the performance.