“Hang” is a single act play set in one office room and follows the interrogation– for lack of a better word – of three characters. Two of which are overly dramatic and highly optimistic characters (Who do not have names) and are some sort of officers of the law who talk to a woman (the third character) – who is highly irritated by their chirpiness – about using capital punishment on a man who has committed and offence against the family (although we’re never told what the crime is).
After reading the overview of “Hang” on the Porter’s website, I was highly anticipating great things for this piece and can say that I was not disappointed.
The acting was of a high standard and each character had been developed by the actors extensively. The two ‘workers’ were; in the beginning, very overly enthusiastic about the entire situation, continually offering the woman teas, coffees and water. The lack of ability of the characters to grasp the fact that she didn’t want anything showed that they were shallow and self centered, and the actors really portrayed this in their acting perfectly. The third woman was very quiet at the start and as the play progressed, the character development was clear. You could see the different layers of the character from a mother who was only trying to do right by her children by protecting them to a woman who was lonely and vulnerable. Character development was a key part of this play and the actors achieved this very successfully.
The staging was in a proscenium arch style which allowed the audience to have a front on view as if it was a painting which made it easier for the audience to be absorbed into the action as if it was a TV show. The set gave a lot of background into the two workers as characters as the rooms were described to have a familiar “Sameness” about them which indicates that the words of ‘comfort’ have been rehearsed and are used with every ‘client’. This shows that nothing is personal and they don’t really know anything about other people except what they see in their files. I can say with almost certainty that the majority of the audience has felt this way when dealing with ‘professionals’ which has allowed them to really connect to the woman and the situation she finds herself in. Other than this little bit of insight the set allows us, the set and lighting was minimal as to not take away from the action that is being performed on stage.
The costumes, for me were quite intrusive into the character’s personal lives. For example, One of the workers wore a white blouse with a black and white neck tie. This white top (which was worn by both workers) shows the innocence they believe they possess however, not everyone sees it that way. The neck tie was an important feature of the uniform for me because in the play, we find out that the woman has cheated on her husband. This could represent the fact that she has tied a noose around herself when she did this act as it lead to the split between her husband. Neck ties are also quite uncomfortable as it is, so for me, they were a physical representation of her feelings as you can see her uneasy expression when the woman starts quizzing her about her marriage.
The play was to show us a different reality where, in Britain, Capital Punishment was still used. This play acts out a frightening alternative reality with themes of quite intensity and seriousness and yet, the play was laced with humour to ‘lighten the load’. This play was very well designed with tantalising exciting characters that were acted out in such a way it showed the contrast between the authority and ‘ordinary’ people. It. also shows the morality of the average person and makes you question what you would have done in their situation.
The play ends with a climax that gives you chills of dread and anticipation and I think that everyone in the audience would agree when I say that there was a unified feeling of excitement.
I would highly recommend this to anyone who has a chance to go and see it. For more information, please visit: The Other Room.
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