The power of our minds, so often underestimated… it can truly make us happy or sad, or in extreme cases even drive us to the far edges of sanity, clinging onto the cliffs of reality by but our fingernails. It is such a struggle that is revealed in The Yellow Wallpaper, currently showing at the Kalk Bay Theatre.
We meet a very proper Jane, a young Southern belle, who is only a bit tired and “just not well”. Luckily she is being doctored back to ‘health’ by her very capable, but ever absent, physician husband. Left alone in a room with full view of all the world but no real access to it, she becomes obsessed with the torn yellow wallpaper…
As her minds starts unravelling she enters into conversation with you as her secret journal, sharing her inner thoughts on how the wallpaper morphs into a life of its own… from slightly unsightly to absolutely grotesque. She makes you question whether this is reality (perhaps a haunted house situation) or merely the ramblings of a woman driven to insanity by those who are supposed to care for her most (with some well-intentioned ‘supplements’ and isolation of course).
This production of The Yellow Wallpaper is hauntingly beautiful… not pretty, but beautiful in the use of technique, acting, character development, and the unease it creates for the audience watching the tragedy unfold. It is the theatre equivalent of rubber-necking. You know there is an accident, you know you are not supposed to gawk, but you simply can’t look away.
The directing style of Kim Kerfoot may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I personally found it striking, with the isolation and almost clinical elements highlighted to hit just the right nerve with the ‘onlookers’ in this gothic horror story.
Henri Landon as Jane is truly unnerving and captivating. She skilfully draws the audience into her trauma. She effortlessly converts from the sweet loving lady to a completely unhinged woman, by gradually and subtly building up the instability… almost as if she is drawing you in at the same pace as her ‘caregivers’ are drugging you, and so your realities change together.
A chilling must see, before the run ends 2 July 2016! Book online at www.kalkbaytheatre.co.za today still!