Crystal Springs at the Park
“You can’t treat someone like dirt and expect there to be no consequences” character Haley opines. It’s a cautionary tale for the digital age: two best friends, the tumultuous tides of schoolgirl relationships and a mother’s misplaced protectiveness, exacerbated by social media and culminating in tragedy.
Kathy Rucker’s tight, naturalistic script is brought to the fore with simple staging and a capable, all-female cast. It warns of the unseen repercussions of our actions and of the bewildering challenges of parenting. Beginning with the end, we are led backwards through the story until we finish at the start of the domino line: a Brechtian effect that throws the focus onto the how rather than the what of the story. The technique is ambitious but is pulled off to good effect and manages for the most part to avoid confusion. Subtle conversational scenes brim with subtext: mere words contain catastrophic power, Rucker shows us. Weapon-like words, wielded in particular by girls, can wound – can kill.
To illustrate this point, a whiteboard on the back wall displays scrawled words: fractions of the script. These are wiped off one by one as time recedes. The silver square marked out on the floor recalls the silver screen of a computer monitor, much like the silver boxes on wheels which serve as bed, sofa, armchair, and which are moved around by the cast during blackouts between scenes. Props are scarce, consisting mainly of laptops and mobile phones – the omnipresent technology – and an ominously glowing cable that sears the tragic scene onto our retinas.
The distinct relationships between the different characters are thoroughly explored, their varying facets surfacing depending on who they are interacting with. All of the actors impress. Tiana Khan’s Jenna and Rebecca Boey’s Hayley capture the frivolity and instability of teenage life, while Angela Bull’s Rose swings smoothly between maternal warmth and brisk condescension. Suzan Sylvester’s excellent portrayal of the neurotic and selfish Linda garners both pity and dislike.
The Park Theatre’s Park 90 stage, a 90-capacity black box space, provides the intimacy Crystal Springs requires, enabling an exploration of the dark side of social media with a sensitivity and simplicity that grips throughout.
Crystal Springs is on at the Park Theatre until 31st August 2014, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for Crystal Springs here: