Wink at Theatre503
There is John Martin, a 20-something French teacher who is essentially quite bored: bored in his job, bored in his marriage, bored in his life, and taking everything for granted. He’s cocky, charming and arrogant, but below the surface there seems to lurk an insecurity or a frustration that he is completely unware of, never giving himself a moment of self-reflection. Instead he keeps one eye on whichever woman happens to be on his immediate radar: whether in the real world or the virtual.
There is Mark, a “dopey-eyed” Year 11 student of John’s. He’s there on a sports scholarship, and he has a couple of friends, but essentially he is a loner. Mark feels most alive when he slams his bedroom door and goes online. That’s when his “whole room opens up, space, time, and all the continuums”. Websites “explode like stars” as he clicks, types, swipes, snaps, wanks and chats the night away with the world. It’s there that he can be whoever he wants to be, and it’s there that he gets the idea to make a fake Facebook profile, befriend John’s wife Claire, and unwittingly begin a chain of events that will threaten to unwind his teacher’s very existence.
There is so much in this play. It’s as sprawling as the internet itself, and it has a lot to say about the pleasures and pitfalls of our digital lives. It also has a lot to say about masculinity, and it taps into the language of modern men so believably that it’s hard to believe a woman wrote it. There are entire sections of ingenious, rapid-fire monologues that you want to freeze as they’re happening so you can take it all in. John and Mark are the only players on the bare stage, but neither knows that the other is there. Their words are delivered in parallel, except for the moments when they interact. The dramatic effect is powerful; the line between child and man is blurred, and the intensity of it all carries through until the very last moment.
This is fringe theatre at its absolute best, and this play will become a piece of our cultural history.
Photos: Savannah Photographic
Wink is on at Theatre503 until 4th April 2015, for further information or to book visit here.