Times of India | An odd love story
London’s SOHO theatre presents Blink, a dysfunctional and darkly funny romantic tale that has had successful shows in the UK
– Ayesha Tabassum
It’s a love story. Not your usual love story interspersed with romantic confessions and frivolous modern-day flirtations. Blink is the story of Jonah and Sophie, set in contemporary London. The two unknowingly encounter the same situations in their lives. Jonah is raised away from the buzz of city life, in the calm and serene settings of a farm, alienated from modern living paraphernalia such as microwaves and toasters. Sophie lives on an island with her father. The dedicated parent that he is, he showers his little girl with all the affection she requires. He even goes to the extent of making a bed in the garden with fizzy water and a bedside lamp. Both are happy in their world created by their parents, until pancreatic cancer afflicts them, leaving the youngsters in a lurch.
Untouched by the onslaught of consumerism and materialism, the two loners set out to manage their lives. As destiny would have it, they end up becoming neighbours and that’s the beginning of this odd love story that has a baby monitor, an accident and a fox named Scruffilitis that brings them closer to each other.
Sophie, who is fired from her job for ‘not being visible enough’, is at home wondering if she is really fading away in time. Her fears are validated when a man sits on her lap ignorantly, when she is travelling by the Tube. On a whim, she sends a wifi-enabled baby monitor to her neighbour-tenant, Jonah and lets him into her life virtually. They eat together, read together, listen to music together and even watch the same television soap — virtually. But when Jonah starts following Sophie in real life, she gets annoyed and fears being stalked.
Jonah, a God-fearing Christian, refers to the Bible to see if it is right to be intruding a young woman’s privacy when the baby-monitor lands in his hands. Even when he starts following Sophie, it is because he wants to know the real girl who has been his virtual companion for months. “I suppose there is something charming about Jonah’s openness and honesty, that makes him so endearing,” says Harry McEntire, who plays Jonah. Just when they begin to meet frequently, there is a road accident. Fate dictates that the two get talking to each other and the relationship evolves to a new phase.
Phil Porter, a Bruntwood Playwriting Prize Winning writer, has beautifully married the old world charm of innocent love stories with the modern, new technological approach of connecting virtually. “I wanted to explore how the world is changing and how it affects the way we fall in love,” he says. “We appear close to each other, but we are becoming further apart. With technology, we also have developed a cynical attitude towards love.”
The two actors—Rosie Wyatt and McEntire carry the play entirely on their acting prowess. They also change voices and modulate their tones to fill in for other characters — Jonah’s mother, the doctor and the German lady, apart from moving, joining and dismantling props to suit the various scenes. The one-and-a-half hour, one act play showcases the talent of these two young and upcoming British actors. Though they belong to the Facebook-Tweetizens generation, the actors have their take on the play. “It might seem like an old-fashioned sort of a love story where Sophie and Jonah are taking time to know each other, but every move rests on modern predicaments like being watched all the time,” says Wyatt.
Peppered with dark humour and satirical take on our modern lives, Blink is a modern day love story.
Read as it appeared in Times of India here.
Jagriti is a Performance Arts space dedicated to Theatre, Music, Dance and Comedy. Founded in 2011 by Arundhati and Jagdish Raja, the space has hosted several productions from India and around the world. A 200-seat theatre, built around a full-thrust stage, it is fully equipped to cater to both artistes and audience. The main stage is designed for intimate performances, with adjoining spaces for informal lectures and gatherings, and an attached restaurant. Jagriti is owned and operated by the not-for-profit ART Foundation, a registered charitable trust.
The Rooftop - above the main auditorium is an open-to-sky space with a staging area that can accommodate about 50 people. A raised and walled off platform can work as a perfect area for puppet theatre. The Rooftop has a restroom and a pantry.
The Terrace - alongside the auditorium, the Terrace can accommodate about 20 people as an informal gathering area.
Lumbini - extending out from the foyer, Lumbini has a stage and an open-to-sky terraced space for about 80 people.