Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review: Life According to Saki is a Must See!

By Kaila M. Stokes

Life According to Saki by Katherine Rundell comes to us across the pond from Atticist Productions. If you have not seen this 70 minute production, it is highly suggested. It is a pleasurable evening of wit, story-telling, and truth. Life According to Saki is set in WWI, literally in the trenches. Soldiers await their fate day by day and are met by intolerable boredom. To fill this void, a soldier named Saki, supplies ample stories throughout. Saki, played by David Paisley, is based off of the real life man Hector Hugh Munro. This man was an established writer that enlisted in WWI in his mid-forties; he was more than double in age of most of the men already!  Saki and the men acted out numerous stories about fear, love, loss, and religion. Each story was more vulnerable than the next.
photo by Monica Simoes
The director & choreographer of this interesting play are Jessica Lazar and Ed Addison. They had enough foresight to add in the value of physicality for these actors. The actors play multiple roles throughout each story, but each role took on a new physicality. It was very well directed and choreographed. The actors seemed extremely comfortable with the movements and each other; therefore they mastered them. There was not a detail over looked. When the characters were on the train, sound effects and physical motions were added. When the characters were animals, it was clear that the work was put into create that beastly altitude. And when Saki was speaking to the audience, the emotions bleed through his eyes. This brings up another point; the actors are superb. The entire company works together and does this piece justice. Women definitely led this play down the right path though; from the female writer to the director to the female company members (Phoebe Frances Brown, Ellen Francis, and Caitlin Thorburn) that stole the show. It was an honor to receive the honest messages evoked onstage. Your life is only worth what you put into it after all.
The lighting and sound, by David Doyle, were all tightly executed for each scene. It is a small space, but intimate, and the intimacy was utilized. The costumes are simple, defined, and true to the period. Since each character played multiple parts the simple design made it easy for them to transform. The set is also simple with boxes, benches, and a projection screen on the back surrounded by rock. The projection screen was utilized to enhance the audiences understanding of a story; it was never too much, but just right.
All in all, Life According to Saki is highly recommended. It runs until March 5th, so get your tickets to this short yet honest and witty British play. It was an honor to remember someone who made the world a better place with a tiny drop in the bucket. It was a generous reminder that we all can do that by being good to one another - that is what people will remember.