Show Report: The Duke (by Jess Watts)

Show Report: The Duke (by Jess Watts)

An empty theatre, if not for a table. A spotlight, wires and one man. Immediately the fourth wall is broken. Shôn addresses the audience as just that – an audience. Here is a man about to tell a story; without leaving his chair.

His performance – or narration – is brought to life by sounds cleverly woven in to story telling. However, the music does not simply mirror speech but enhances, what I believe, the thematic undertone to Shôn’s piece: how a man tells a story using the world around him, and by extension, how the world around him is told in story. There is something so raw about this method in that it manages to feel polished but not over-rehearsed.

Comical, dynamic and charismatic, The Duke, however unbelievable, is made entirely plausible. This is a play that explores the interconnections between people, the personal and the wider world through the medium of one man’s narrative.  Whether it is hearing about the refugee crisis on the radio or physically engaging with a family affected, the outside world is continuously impinging on the script writing deadline that frames the play. Just as Shôn is writing a script within a script about a film within a film, on stage is the world within his world.

Theatre, story telling or truth; that isn’t important. How Shôn successfully narrates a story that encompasses the many facets of human connection: that is what matters.

Photography by Alexandra Tilling

Jess is a full time student studying BA English Literature with Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. When she isn’t writing essays, she enjoys taking walks in nature, laughing with friends and dreaming up potential novels.