The Hindu | Love made visible

Blink, written by Phil Porter, depicts what it means to be in love in a lonely city and in times dominated by social media

Sravasti Datta

Blink , written by Phil Porter, and directed by Soho Theatre artistic associate and Nabokov artistic director Joe Murphy, depicts a touching, yet “darkly funny and voyeuristic” love story. Described as “funny, fresh and appealing” by one critic and “tenderly written and terrifically acted unusual love story” by another, Blink is being staged at Jagriti Theatre.

The worlds of Jonah and Sophie merge in lonely London and what emerges is a unique, dysfunctional love story. “The play is about two lonely people who sort of connect with each other,” says Joe over the phone. “In London, Jonah lives in the flat above Sophie’s. On the surface Jonah and Sophie are different, but if you dig deeper, they’re opposite sides of the same coin. They have a natural compatibility.”

While some critics have said the play doesn’t delve too deep into relationships, Joe says the play does have emotional depth. “It is quite subtle, not very obvious. Fundamentally, it explores what it means to genuinely reach out to people. It shows what a relationship is, what love means and it is a love that has to be defined. There is a musicality to the way the language moves in the script. Phil manages to illuminate the oddity of human nature.”

“There’s an honesty and simplicity to Jonah,” says Harry McEntire, who plays Jonah. “He is not coloured by the expectations of other people. He is charming, though he doesn’t have social graces.” Harry says the play goes deep on a surface level, but not very much. “It’s not a political story. It shows the universality of love, of feeling anonymous and trying to find unique love. The play is gently subversive. It is a unique and eccentric romantic comedy.”

Sophie loses her father, whom she loved dearly, before she meets Jonah. “Sophie watches how Jonah nurses to health a wounded fox, Scruffilitis,” says Joe. “She is moved by it and falls in love with him.” Rosie Wyatt, who plays Sophie, says Jonah’s act of kindness gives an insight into Jonah’s nature. “Jonah sees and cares for what no one else sees or cares about. This is important for her because she has lost her father recently. Her father made her feel loved and cared for. After his death, she feels as though she is disappearing, she feels she is going through her life in an invisible way,” says Rosie.

The play also looks at love in the times of social networking sites. “Sophie takes quite an unusual step of sending Jonah a screen so that he can see her living her life,” says Rosie. “Jonah sees her and he initiates the connection. Social media creates the illusion that we are not alone. It creates a different kind of friendship, but there’s really no emotional connection. It convinces we’re fine, but it makes us lonelier.”

Blink is being staged at Jagriti Theatre, Whitefield, till December 8. The plays will be staged at 8 pm on all days, except Sundays, when it will be staged at 3 pm and 6.30 pm. Individual tickets are priced at Rs. 300. Call 41242879.

Read as it appeared in The Hindu here.