CARESS/ACHE, Griffin Theatre Company at the SBW Stables Theatre, 4 March-11 April 2015. Photography by Brett Boardman.
Suzie Miller’s new play opens in a pristine, white-tiled space – a hospital operating theatre – as a series of words are silently thrown onto the wall: “Human skin and tissues contain millions of sensory perceptors. Without them, there would be no capacity for people to sense the touch of another.”
So matter of fact, so impersonal, so simply factual, yet all of life as we know and value it are contained within that short statement and dehumanised by the surrounds. (Excellent design: Sophie Fletcher and lighting: Matthew Marshall.) There is possibly nothing more personal and important to life than the touch and feel of human skin yet unless we accidentally cut it, burn it or slap on a costly lotion, most of us don’t think much about it. Skin just is. Nevertheless, the play’s title – Caress/Ache – suggests that the playwright has thought a lot about skin in the writing of it.
Skin and the touching of it is central to life and relationships, either in its absence or its many meanings. Yet in a series of intertwined but largely unrelated stories, Miller explores how different these relationships and meanings can be, depending on the circumstances and viewpoint.Continue reading →