UNPRESCRIBED presented by The Sun Apparatus at The Garage Theatre, Norwich. 26 May 2015

This play provides an instructional commentary on comfort and composure, told in a style similar to a Chuck Palahniuk novel. It begins by acquainting the audience with Dr Blink’s Centre for Reorganisation, and its hapless inhabitants. Blink guides the audience through this ‘Open lecture and Demonstration’, showing us how to deal with obsessions and compulsions.

Upon entering the theatre, Assistant, played by Justina Kaminskaité, silently hands audience members the programme. Mute for at least the first half of the performance, Assistant becomes more and more human throughout the piece.

Katherine Vince’s Dr Blink is almost like a personification of GLaDOS from the Portal series, with her near robotic persona, stern composure, and subtly psychotic manner. As the audience are being seated, she welcomes everybody to this supposed open lecture, and begins firmly informing all on precisely how to relax and be comfortable in their seats. What then ensues is an eye-opening view into her Centre and what manifests inside, exhibiting vulnerable characters known only as Case A and Case B, played by Dana Etgar and Sarah Kenney, respectively. Dr Blink involves mild but inclusive audience participation at a few points, which helps immerse you into the Centre.

After Blink’s introduction, Case A and Case B begin manically exposing their own issues and weaknesses. Temptation is a key feature within this piece, with both cases being taunted by their outlandish and illogical fixations. Though at face value they may seem irrational,we can learn that they have simply become extremely stretched from basic fears – in case A, a fear of a linear life to death cycle, while case B is obsessed with the state of the ozone, and the concept of infinity.

The set is relatively minimalist, the core set-up being one chair per character – although Dr Blink is mostly standing while presenting – and a desk in the corner, where Assistant relentlessly works. Despite her silence, she still communicates with the cases very well, through both expressions and physical gestures. The cases only tend to speak when spoken to, with Dr Blink taking the main lead in both senses. All of the cast are dressed in black and white, reflecting the clinical aspect of the institution. In fact the whole set is monochromatic, which adds to the visual intensity when the stage becomes littered with the coloured triggers, red tomatoes and green plants.

As a whole, this play was very entertaining and had a remarkably high quality of acting shown by the cast. It teaches us that perhaps despite initial impressions, everyone is vulnerable to some curious drive or obsession.

An overall delightfully bizarre and unpredictable performance, I highly recommend Unprescribed, and following The Sun Apparatus in the future.

The Sun Apparatus are returning to The Garage this Friday 29 May with a scratch performance of their next piece, DELIVERANCE. This features a Q & A with the group afterwards.

Tickets are FREE, but please book your seat here.

Written by Katrina Bowen, Marketing Assistant Intern at The Garage, Norwich

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