Earlier this term I discovered ‘autonomous sensory meridian response’ and became hooked. ASMR is a kind of art where people make gentle sounds with objects or with their voices, and it’s really relaxing to listen to. What a pleasant surprise, then, to turn up at the Burton Taylor Studio, sit down, and be drowsed in not only an hour this, but also a funky story to boot. As the show was starting, I settled in my seat, closed my eyes, and was met by an icy wind so convincing that I found myself expecting a cold blast to hit me any minute. Thankfully, it never did.
Some of the sound effects were ingenious. There was one particular recurring sound – chickens in a coop – that was created by the actors pulling on damp strings attached to plastic cups. I could not understand how it sounded so similar to chickens pecking, but I don’t want to give away too much. The creations of sounds are the main attractions of the piece – go see it for yourself!
Still, I can say this: what made the sound effects so impressive was the interaction between the cast members. I particularly remember one moment where Laura Henderson Child and Jessie Goetzinger were making the plastic-cup-chickens peck. The two actors shared a glance, lingered a second, and then put the cups down at exactly the same time. No words, no beat, just eye contact. This was the strongest aspect of the show: the cast seem to be exceptionally in tune with one another. The team work in this production is something to be envied not only in voice plays, but all theatre. It was really interesting to see the way they delivered their lines physically to each other, and how the dynamics switched each time they changed roles.
I did, however, find the ending a little anticlimactic. The story seems to have an overarching structure that I didn’t grasp from watching the production, only from reading the plot line after the show. I understood what was going on at each point, but would have struggled to piece it together as a coherent whole. Perhaps the narration could have been used a little more to frame the action for the audience. The cast was very good at creating action in the moment, but I think the element of storytelling was a little weaker.
Having said that, this is show well worth a watch. It is creative, original and surprising, and makes a welcome change from ‘regular’ shows. In general, Michaelmas 2017 seems to have brought a breath of fresh air to our student theatre, with voice plays, physical theatre, and lots of experimental writing.
Don’t miss the magic. Go and see this.