Monday, 6 October 2014

Tomorrow @ Tramway

Vanishing Point have made a virtue of eclecticism: while their productions share a commitment to high production values and an integration of text, scenography and precise direction from Matthew Lenton, they tackle subjects as varied as violent pornography, moral corruption, existential doubt and, in Tomorrow, the onset of dementia and death. Reducing Tramway's expansive space to an intimate stage, through Jamie Harrison's austere design, Lenton's study of a man's final days is a moving elegy that refuses sentimentality.

At just over an hour, Tomorrow abandons a typical dramatic story for a series of allusive episodes. The transformation of the young man into his senile self is quickly effected, through encasing him in a latex mask, and the following scenes - the lounge of a hospice, a sneaky cigarette with the nursing staff, a sudden burst of loud music and desperate action - examine the dwindling hours as he is gradually submerged in his dementia. From the vague interactions with the other patients to the difficult reunion with his daughter, whom he inevitable mistakes for his wife, the hero only briefly longs for escape before the lights, then the sounds, disappear.

Lenton's dispassionate direction makes Tomorrow all the more melancholic: rather than build towards a dramatic resolution, he allows events to take their course. An attempted escape from the hospital becomes poignant, and the final scenes descend into a comforting darkness. Tomorrow evokes a state of confusion, tracing the sad journey of one man as his life, and memory, slowly fades to black.

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