Run at the New Diorama Theatre
The second piece of work from the striking Engineer Theatre Collective, Run tells a story that will be familiar, and almost painfully accurate, to most twenty-somethings. It follows four graduates: hardworking Caroline, less hardworking Lawrence, ambitious Ana, and Tim, who isn’t sure he wants to be there. The four have managed to get an internship at a big city bank; it’s hard work, requiring long hours and mundane tasks, so tensions flare pretty quickly and, of course, alongside professional demands, the four have to field conflicts of a more personal nature.
Based in part on the real-life case of Moritz Erhardt, a 21-year-old bank intern who died after working 72 hours straight, Run is performed with minimal props: a table and a few office chairs, walked on and off as needed. The effects are also minimal: strobe lights and the disembodied voice of the intern’s interviewer and boss, Phil. It’s rather menacing; the first scene is Caroline’s interview, consisting of the actress sat alone on a darkened stage, harsh lights in her face as she reels off the expected “right” answers most know off by heart now. The performances are excellent, every character brought to life with surprising depth, each with their own hang-ups and vulnerabilities, most of them relatable (Catherine is socially awkward, Tim has no idea what he wants to do, Lawrence only got the job because of his uncle, Ana is a completely different person at work than outside of it). But alongside all the drama there’s comedy, and at times it’s hilarious.
If there is a negative here it’s that, at times, the progression is a little unclear. The story jumps about, with much left unsaid and unseen, and though the use of physical theatre to speed things up is innovative, there are also occasions where what is happening is unclear. This may be due to the seating arrangement that means for some the view isn’t ideal.
All in all, Run is a simple production, but it carries a powerful message.
Run is on at the New Diorama Theatre from 14th March until 9th April 2016. Book your tickets here.
Watch a trailer for Run here: