This is not a play that gives you time to get comfortable in your seat. The Young Vicís production of I Am The Wind runs for 70 minutes straight through, and not a minute is wasted.
Theatrical conventions (or at least what we take these to be) are dispensed with as the play begins at the end, removing any sense of expectation or suspense.
I Am The Wind features two characters only, 'The One' and 'The Other', and their interaction takes place over the course of one day, on a boat heading out into the open ocean. The One is intensely troubled, introspective; The Other cannot begin to understand or comprehend this state of mind.
The increasing depth of the water beneath them reflects this chasm of non-comprehension and isolation. Both characters, played by Tom Brooke and Jack Laskey, have the look of world-weary, exhausted men who have been living these roles for too long.
As is often the case with the Young Vic, the staging is extremely creative and visually-arresting. What at first appears to be nothing more than an extremely dirty puddle transforms in the blink of an eye into a believable boat, on an open stretch of water.
This could however be one production where it pays to be in the cheap seats; those downstairs have full sight of the all-too-real mechanics behind this illusion.
The production, directed by Patrice Chťreau and written originally by Norwegian Jon Fosse (Europe's most performed living playwright), has received a mixed response from the critics. It is quite unlike most other theatre performed in the UK, and the audience is left questioning what and why they have just seen what they have.
This challenge to our expectations and understanding may either remind us what we don't like in theatre, or encourage us to widen our horizons. But for either reason, I Am The Wind is worth seeing.
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