SPACES is an astute combination of experiences lived and boundaries imposed, collated by a producer-director duo whose friendship inspired a deeper reflection on our parallel lives.
SPACES identifies four key themes, each an unwavering facet of its strong-willed characters: mental health, faith, sexuality, and race. SPACES emphasises the universality of its themes, and so the audience witnesses how family, friends, and lovers are all relationships fraught with limits.
Each young woman is placed in and characterised through a core friendship group, yet isolated through the boundaries the piece explores. These thematic shifts are signalled by effortless choreography, and introspective music. It is striking how the scenes unpredictably teeter between a group and the self. Four simultaneous monologues by all four women on stage betray their clunky, unsurmountable boundaries, as do dim-lit scenes with only one woman and her invisible distress. SPACES accurately represents how solitude translates across relationships; it conveys our worries about image, and deconstructs the appearances which build up our brick walls.
Juliet’s struggles with anxiety reveal the vulnerability that comes with really being seen by others. Symptoms, a diagnosis, and medication all follow in quick succession for her. Her difficulty to accept her condition ebbs away as she begins to embrace her support system. Drew’s faith fuels a misunderstanding with Lucy, a lesbian; in turn they both begin to lose their sense of self. Their interactions with one another expose the wider impact small parts of their identities have. Maya, on the other hand, most tangibly depicts the interplay between two distinct worlds (that her friends do also experience) as these take the form of her parents. As a child of mixed-race heritage, she appeals to her father’s fragility, whilst exploring her blackness – a journey which culminates into a powerful spoken word piece.
Across all of their experiences, there is an underlying message about inclusion, aboutwho it is about, if anyone and not everyone. Throughout the play, there is a subtle recurrent message: true understanding combines both a desire and effort to achieve it. It should also be grounded in care, and emotional vulnerability.
SPACES is an important reminder of how tangential human relationships have the capacity to be. It embraces the fragments which, pieced together, create us and yet don’t fit squarely in any given box. It highlights how impenetrable our individual worlds risk becoming, be it out of shame or self-preservation.
SPACES will be performing at Sweet Venues, Grassmarket 2 at 2.25pm from 2nd-26thAugust (every day except the 7th, 14thand 21st). Tickets can be found at: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/spaces