By Laura Mountford (Guest Blogger for March)
Laura Lindow’s play Wishbone was relatively short, lasting around forty minutes or so. However, the levels of intrigue and mystery that the play managed to achieve in this amount of time, along with a satisfying ending is a testament to the manner in which Lindow is able to use time wisely in order to create an effective piece of theatre.
The intensity of the piece becomes apparent before the play even begins, through the use of set design. Although the stage appears relatively simple, with atmospheric dark lighting, it is the image of trees, twigs and branches that seems to intrigue audiences as they take their seats.
The play mainly consists of a series of meetings between two characters, Jamie (played by Tom Booth) and Meryl (played by Joanna Holden). The characters differ from each other in not only age, but in personality, with Meryl being animated and lively and Jamie coming across as subdued and unsure. The contrast between these two characters is highly effective and the actors both do an excellent job of portraying such wildly different personalities and mind-sets. As the meetings go on, the two slowly reveal more about themselves, but there are undoubtedly questions left in the audience’s minds. The high level of anticipation never quite manages to leave, despite the fact that the themes of history, the past and ageing become more and more obvious. These themes are revealed namely through the use of references to various images that symbolize them, such as the use of swans and particularly that of Peter Pan, perhaps the most famous story of someone not wanting to grow old.
It is fair to say that it takes a while for audiences to grasp what Wishbone is trying to do, but it seems that Lindow meant for it to be this way, what with the purposely high levels of mystery that every aspect of the play embraces. Wishbone is mostly successful in doing this and I was pleased upon leaving the theatre to see such an innovative piece. However, what is clear is that this is a play that would not work in any other format than that of the short ‘bite size’ role it takes on, as the short running time allows for audiences to stay interested in what the play will reveal without becoming bored or frustrated.