Z- Where are we?
S- In a room above a public drinking house


- LONDON, The Lion and Unicorn Pub Theatre, jan30 - feb18 2001

with Silvia Mercuriali, Zhana Ivanova and Matt Rudkin

written/directed by Ant Hampton

[GRACE] (2001) 'In a room above a public drinking house' there's an intense relationship between two women of equal age, size and strength: an ambivalent, confused director [Zhana Ivanova] and a wild, intuitive performer [Silvia Mercuriali] who has the habit of speaking only via a dictophone [record, then playback]. Gradually their erratic attempts to "prepare something to show" have a visible parallel as an exploded, female internal dialogue: it becomes aparent that, despite all apperances, there is only one woman in the room. Through the metaphor of "rehearsal" the piece explores the curious notion that inside us there are two people going through life, one always thinking hard and giving orders and the other "taking them" - with various degrees of subordinance. "Mostly she just does whatever the hell she wants. If she's not laughing, she's crying her eyes out... Why do you lie to me?" Silvia - "Because I have nothing to hide from you".

While they're still preparing (BY NO MEANS READY), the door opens slightly - there's a bloke from the pub below, says he wants the toilet. Directed downstairs again, he leaves; but five minutes later his curiosity drags him [and his pint] back into the room. What seems certain to be a serious intrusion [there really are men like this downstairs in the pub] turns out to be a Blessing in Disguise. A totally honest, well-meaning outside eye... the ideal male gaze! [Matt Rudkin]. First he sits and watches, throwing in the occasional comment (encouragements, complaints...) Soon he's helping out; reads things for them, even Mans the lighting board for a bit. But things turn around and it turns out HE'S the one in danger. He doesn't realise what he's walked into. The centre of a self, utterly self-centred. "Admittedly, I've been drinking... but I don't understand".