THE DEEP RED SEA. Written and performed by Megan Furniss. Directed by Tandi Buchan. Musical accompaniment performed by James Harvey. Alexander Bar.
KAREN RUTTER reviews
What a wonderful way to tell a story. Megan Furniss’s staging of her prose poem, an ode to love, loss, love again and loss again, makes innovative use of the intimate Alexander Bar theatre to create a space where the linear is dismantled, the regular transformed. The Deep Red Sea is an unusual piece to start with, and its presentation reinforces this sense of the not-usual. With the audience scattered around the theatre in an almost circular grouping of chairs, one feels a part of the prose, a segment of the story.
Told in a series of chapters, or parts, we meet Angelique, a tall woman with small breasts, we are told. She’s a painter. We are introduced at a time in her life when she has just broken up with her partner of 11 years, Amy. It has not been an easy break. But Angelique throws herself into her painting – an activity which has been dormant for some time – and slowly, gradually, begins to rebuild herself. It’s a period characterised by productivity, in her work, in her friendships, in her home.
And then – love makes an unexpected, tentative, appearance, like the first lickings of a tide turning, tip-toeing its way up the beach. And Angelique ultimately lets herself go with the flow.
Ebb and flow
The sea is a constant theme which runs throughout the story, its ebb and its flow, its silky surfaces and watery depths. It’s also a theme which is reflected in Angelique’s paintings. And it becomes a crucial backdrop to the denouement of this tale.
I loved the way The Deep Red Sea unfolds, and I loved the way musician James Harvey unobtrusively, yet very essentially, provides a lilting, wavy soundtrack to the poem. And thanks to Tandi Buchan for her focused, yet fluid directorial hand on the tiller. Also, I couldn’t imagine anyone other than Megan in this role – she inhabits it, breathes it, owns it.
This was a short run, and I do hope it comes back for a longer stretch. In the meantime, it has a reading in New York. Yay for this!