Acorn is a play for the thinking person. An enchanting and worthwhile experience is your reward if you are willing to play along and delve deeply into the many corners of this production.
‘…born of an acorn that grew in the wrong forest.’
Persephone, the goddess within nature, her story wrapped in the lore of growing and harvesting, plays with Eurydice, an oak nymph. Acorn by Maud Dromgoole examines, amongst other things, the notion of growing into our destiny. A deep and multi-layered story. Acorn is playing now at The Courtyard Theatre.
In a magical set of multiple layers of translucent cloth, the story of two women who ultimately profoundly affect each other, is drawn through layers of consciousness and fantasy. It leaves the audience to wonder how much of each of our own stories is decided for us.
The design by Phil Lindley comes alive with the lighting of Jai Morjaria and projections by Tom Pearson. The sound track designed by Graeme Jason Pugh effectively adds another layer and steering this complex confection is director Tatty Hennessy. This cake is cooked to perfection, it looks delicious and contains hidden delights for the audience to savour.
Acorn begins with a monologue by a doctor dressed in scrubs, our Persephone, played by Deli Segal. It’s delivered through the fourth wall straight to the audience, A lively expose of doctor-patient relationships. Segal gives a finely timed and entertaining look at why her superiors have asked her to improve her bedside manner. The result is charming in its awkwardness.
That monologue is the last of the straightforward until the end of the play. The layers in between are almost intangible. This is mainly due to the character of Eurydice who appears in some scenes as a bride on her wedding day, in others as a child, and in others as a mentally disturbed woman who thinks she’s Snow White. Lucy Pickles plays the character of Eurydice with total commitment and great skill.
The two actors appear together in some scenes with dialogue but they also have monologues steeped in reality. Often the monologues are delivered in tandem. This is a clever device by Dromgoole adding vocal interest, however there is a tendency to concentrate on one monologue and miss the other almost entirely.
Intermittent projections add further food for thought. Their transient and sporadic nature defies total comprehension and therefore the meaning is occasionally ambiguous. A disembodied dialogue between two men who are heard and not seen baffles.
The final scene pulls the whole play together, bringing relief to its audience who have been clutching numerous strands of a story that keep blowing about in the wind.
Acorn is one of those productions with beautifully crafted performances and production values but the most fascinating feature is the play itself. It is the play that will have people talking about Acorn long after the season is ended.