I particularly enjoyed the performance of the actor who played Francis. His personality was well expressed to the audience, through the way he walked, talked, his expressions, reactions to other people and even his clothes. He walked in a rather sophisticated way, indicating he has a rather high status at work. I also liked the performance of the actor who played Joanna. It was well clear that she had problems of her own, and this made the audience want her to tell her story even more.
I also liked how a scene would be acted, and then retold by another character and more of the story would be revealed. For example, how the doorwoman retold the story of Francis declaring he could see an imaginary girl to her co-worker. This was a rather unique way of telling the story.
There was also a small group of actors who formed the chorus of the play. They brought an element of humour to the play. The audience found their actions amusing, for example where they would all follow the same routine at the same pace whilst waiting for the train (reading newspaper, picking up briefcase, etc). As well as adding humour, the chorus played an essential part in helping the audience to understand Joanna’s historical background and story. This was done by taking the audience back in time, before the hotel was built.
Costumes were varied in the play. They ranged from formal business suits to tatty robes, and they were able to tell us a lot about the character, for example Francis who wore a very typical businessman’s suit, indicating he is most probably a higher class citizen. The robes worn by the tribe were very realistic and gave them a very ancient feel.
Sound and lighting also helped to create atmosphere. A lot of sounds were made use of, such as typical sounds at a train station, and even the simple “ding” of an elevator arriving at a floor. In my opinion, it would have been rather hard to tell that the actors were at a train station at that particular scene. The sound made it easier for the audience to believe it was a train station, and so the audience spent more time watching the performance rather than trying to figure out what the situation was. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Joanna takes the audience back in time to 1350 to tell us the story. I felt that the lighting and sound was made use of extremely well here. The lights were dimmed, and there was the faint sound of rushing wind. This, in my opinion, gave the scene a chilling, eerie feeling and created a vivid atmosphere. Lighting was not only used to give an atmosphere, but it also helped to show what characters were doing. By this I am referring to the projector screen. For example, Francis would take a shower/ change behind the screen, and the audience could make this out as we could see his shadow. This is a lot better than having a solid wall, as it would make it less clear for the audience. Lighting was also used to help direct the audience’s attention to particular people in the play.
Entrances on and off stage were relatively fast, and this helped to keep the play flowing smoothly. Some characters would sometimes go behind the screen when exiting stage. At other times, characters would just disappear behind one of the two side exits. Transitions between scenes were mainly used with the traditional blackouts. The blackouts were not long, and the crew only had a short amount of time to prepare everything for the next scene. I liked the fact that the actors, not backstage crew moved the props, because this kept the pace going and did not waste too much time. This was done well, and allowed the play to run smoothly. This is crucial in terms of pace, as the audience would not appreciate a play with long transitions. Music was also played during transitions to keep the audience entertained so they would not lose their attention.
The stage had a fairly basic set-up. The audience was seated directly in front of the stage, with stepped seating levels so people at the back were able to see. The stage was also rather small, so as much of the stage possible had to be used. Despite the limitations, many different scenes could be successfully portrayed.
I found the play to be rather abstract and realistic at the same time. It was rather abstract when it went back to 1350, but other than that it was very realistic. Everything was modern and familiar to the audience.
Several things could be improved on, such as the clarity and loudness of voices. This particularly applied to when the tribe people with robes spoke. The robes would often muffle their voices and it made it difficult for the audience at the back to hear.