Thomas Howells reviews Alice Lynch one-act play Windows, performed by Newport Playgoers Society as part of their one-act play festival.
‘Windows’ is a unique play giving a look into the lives of four people during the Covid-19 lockdown. The play really conveys that during lockdown we were not all ‘in the same boat’ and really everybody’s experience was very different. While many suffered losing losing social gatherings or attending public events, others were trapped inabusive home situations. The show respectfully and accurately gives us an idea of how different lives were affected by the pandemic.
The story of the play is very distinctive, we get an idea of the lives of four totally different people giving many of us a strong perspective of different lives in lockdown. The four are forced to isolate in a hotel room divided into four segments with walls so thin they hear everything their neighbours say and do. With nothing left to do they end up striking conversation and learning more and more about each other’s lives. Personally, I loved this. It gave me, (and I’m sure many others), a much better idea of how people lived and if anybody in the audience had experienced what the characters did, they may have really appreciated the acknowledgement.
The characters of Joanne and Declan were perfect representations of the peoples they represented: they weren’t stereotypes, they were real. They convey how anybody can fall into a bad situation. It isnt only drug addicts who can end up homeless, and its not only easily manipulated people who are abused. The world is not so black and white.
That idea in the play may be referenced by the colourful set which seemed very friendly, very natural and really suited the characters and story. Even the colours of the beds were fitting for each character. As well as that, each room is like a mirror being almost entirely identical and facing into centre stage. The actors naturally moved around their compartment as if they really lived there, seeming very realistic and very well portrayed.
Alice Lynch’s script was brought incredibly to life by Ann Harrison (Jean), Christopher Maxwell (Declan), Eamonn Corbett (Luke) and Rachael Hartley (Joanne). The character portrayals were immersive while punctuated with a real humour, tragedy, compassion and confrontation throughout.
Rachael Hartley’s character, Joanne, especially stood out to me throughout as she held her arms close to herself, always on guard, fitting both for her character and backstory. A wonderfully touching portrayal.
Windows is a brilliant piece of theatre as well as a very strong piece of social comment and definetely food for thought that even in the worst of situations, there is hope for us all.