The Girl with Glitter in her Eye at the Bunker
The Girl with Glitter in her Eye tells a story of the complex friendship between Helen, played by Modupe Salu, and Phil, played by Anna Mackay. The performance sees the relationship between these two women break down due to trauma and issues of consent. In our current climate, the latter word immediately makes one think of sexual consent, but the play explores what the word becomes in different contexts: a moment between friends that can have life-changing consequences.
Phil co-runs a café with Helen, whose real passion is painting. As a struggling artist on the cusp of a commission, Helen is told by her art director, played by Naomi Gardener, that her work needs grit and to be based upon something shocking. Simultaneously, Phil confides in Helen about her rape, and Helen decides that this is the inspiration she needs for her commission. Phil reluctantly agrees – a commitment which has immense repercussions for both women.
Director and writer Masha Kevinovna creates no clear time frame, period or genre for this piece, perhaps as a reflection that the story needs no restrictions and stands the test of time. The script is made up of varying storylines and characters, portrayed in a multidisciplinary style, which means that at times the dialogue lacked flow and felt disjointed. The styles covered include spoken word, singing and physical acting. The latter two form the opening sequence of the piece, in which the three actresses combine awkward animalistic movements with equally animal-like sounds. There is no clear objective for this movement and it is repeated throughout, giving an otherworldly feeling of surrealism. Kevinovna also includes naturalistic acting between these physical scenes, which adds a further blurring of genres, creating a jerky feeling to the piece.
The music is another element; a live pianist accompanies scenes with an eerie and at times futuristic soundscape, which again feels disconnected from the dialogue and movement. The piano fails to add to the scenes or create additional suspense; it merely feels like a distraction. The set design is also completely independent from the objective of the play. One prop, which had the most potential use and purpose, was a white screen on which shadows make shapes. This could have created some intense light and shade, but instead it is used in conjunction with dialogue or music; there was not enough time for movement behind the screen to stir emotion in the audience, meaning it ultimately felt trivial.
The overarching theme of this play is what carries its potential, addressing a topic that a modern audience wants to understand. However, the abundance of styles and lack of a clear purpose hinders the overall piece; there are too many elements to be incorporated. If stripped back, there would have been room for the key message to be heard and for a strong story to be told, but The Girl with Glitter in her Eye had too many distractions to ring true.
Photo: Victoria Double
The Girl with Glitter in her Eye is at the Bunker from 12th January until 27th January 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.