Above Me the Wide Blue Sky at the Young Vic
As the audience enters the auditorium, they are presented with a stage composed of many large, chalk bricks. Protruding from these are numerous lamps, as well as three antiquated projectors throwing ocean scenes on upturned blocks. On the walls above the benches, also projected, is a panorama of a blue sky, with wispy, white clouds blowing in the azure expanse. The wall transforms the white stone floor into a cloud and the lamps into stars; compounded by the tranquil ambient sounds being amplified, the atmosphere is soothing.
This feeling of contentment persists when Laura Cubitt and her whippet puppy (Leuca) mount the stage. Cubitt and Leuca walk around the space until the dog sits on a mat and promptly falls asleep. What follows is a 20-minute soliloquy, cataloguing experiences of rural life, with an arguably child-like outlook. The list warmly and earnestly details the fields, insects, trees, smells, colours, tastes, sounds and emotions encountered in nature. This is put in context at the climax when we learn we have witnessed an account of her lost childhood. She then reiterates the list out of order, in a dark and negative rendition. This is Above Me the Wide Blue Sky presented by Fevered Sleep.
Interpretation of the production depends on what one takes into the theatre – what pre-conceptions, anxieties and neuroses. It is either a parable of a mourned childhood, forever out of reach, or a lecture on the fragility of nature, changed irrevocably following adolescence. The likelihood is a combination of the two: the future is tainted by the eternal summer of juvenility, and it becomes a cold and miserable present, impurity and suffering replacing the majesty of that summer’s day.
The show opens doors to debate, encouraging exploration and development of individual feelings and thoughts. Quality theatre does this. It lingers in the mind, matures and helps one grow.
Above Me the Wide Blue Sky is at the Young Vic until 28th March 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Above Me the Wide Blue Sky here: