National Health (Dream Plays) Review
The early morning Dream Plays are an experiment for the writers, who, when commissioned by the Traverse, were told to just write and see what comes out.
Linda Radley was the writer this morning and she found this process of writing particularly refreshing. Her play National Health was founded on an image and sound, then she played with ideas revolving around health issues. There are six scenes, although she does envisage the play being part of a larger project.
Again, the actors read from scripts and the stage setting was minimal - three chairs, which were moved to various places as the scenes changed. The three actors, whose characters were identified only as A, B and C - perhaps denoting the anonymity involved in some aspects of the health service - were played by Rosie Wyatt (who is a very good actress), Lynn Kennedy and Pamela Reid.
The first scene was set in a psychiatric ward and the actors were seated on the chairs arranged in a semi-circle, enhancing their isolation. Bubbles were blown throughout to denote their chain smoking. A theme throughout other scenes that involved patients and health practitioners was the disempowerment the patients felt in these medical situations - that came over well.
Taken in isolation, each scene did have a good deal of provocative and at times humorous dialogue, but in its totality the scenes did feel disconnected to one another. However as National Health is an experiment perhaps Radley, when extending the play, will succeed in bringing the strands together.
Show Times: Dream Plays are running each morning at 9am until 26 August.
Ticket Prices: £12 including a breakfast and tea or coffee.