Editorial #2

10 April 2017

Challenges – and the rewards of confronting things head on – come to the forefront in today's issue of Noises Off


Hello, and welcome to the second issue of Noises Off. It seems odd to be happy about sitting indoors when there’s such unseasonable sunshine and warmth, but after the treats of this opening weekend, the dark embrace of the theatre space feels like the only place to be.

Lily James reviews one particular treat, he she they. This is a piece that, as one audience member said, is a reminder of why we come to NSDF – to be amazed and inspired by work that we couldn’t do ourselves.

The show engages fearlessly with complex issues of gender and sexual identity, reflecting the subject back and asking “How do you feel?” I was particularly struck by a technique they employed in different guises, a sense of mounting repetition in the physical movements, dialogue and music that built into a forceful type of self-contemplation.

In those moments, I went back to the discussion earlier in the day on diversity in casting. For better or worse, so much of the dialogue we have, the problems we see and the solutions we create are tied up in identity and labels and ways we perceive ourselves in contrast to others. What he she they captured so brilliantly was the energy, the frustration, the joy, the pain and the humour that are all so intrinsic to this process, and also what’s so rewarding about challenging ourselves.

Elsewhere in the issue, Joseph Winer takes on a different kind of challenge – talking to strangers at the festival. It’s a piece of advice that gets repeated over and over, and for good reason, but it can be hard to find the confidence to act on it, to make that initial leap of faith and speak to someone you don't know. If that’s how you feel, then hopefully Joseph’s article will help. 

We also have reviews of The Iconoclasts, Blackbird and Hidden. Both of our reviewers of The Iconoclasts – Adam Hutton and Florence Bell – mention how the show suffered from its staging, but made up for it with its charm and humour. It’s worth remembering that transferring to the festival is a challenge in itself. Shows are forced to adapt to venues that may be totally different in size and even shape to the original.

And whether you agree or not with the views in this issue, it’s worth remembering, as Mark Shenton says in his interview with Kate Wyver, that a review is only one person’s truth: “You have to go out there and be bold and make a statement. But our job isn’t to kill dreams.”

And finally, we get an update on the challenges that the Tech Team face on a daily basis. There’s the kind described by Elise Fairbairn, of 8am starts and 11pm finishes. And there’s the kind set by us, in the form of Technician Impossible. We hope both challenges are as rewarding as they are fun.


Send your reviews, thoughts and jokes to: noff@nsdf.org.uk

@noffmag