JAN. 15, 2016
Although the language occasionally takes on a darkly lyrical hue, music plays no role in “Key Change,” a moving, intimate and superbly acted drama about women’s lives in (and out of, and in again) a British prison. Written by Catrina McHugh and directed by Laura Lindow, the play was “devised with” women from an actual prison, drawing specifically on their experiences both before and during incarceration.
The production, which opened on Wednesday at the FourthStreet Theater, having won acclaim at the
Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is aptly spare and simple, running just under an hour. The actors use rolls of masking tape, which they affix to the empty stage floor – and occasionally modify – to delineate their cells and other fixtures of the prison.
The dialogue is crisp, minimal and overlapping. The women sometimes finish one another’s thoughts or phrases, or speak in unison, life inside having brought them into an unusual and sometimes uncomfortable intimacy. They move between directly addressing the audience – describing their histories and the grim, dehumanizing details of their lives in prison – and interacting with one another, fighting over time at the phone or exchanging stories. Most of these concern unfortunate choices involving men. (The four primary actors also play ancillary roles, including the bad boyfriends, while the fifth, Lorraine, played by Victoria Copeland, sits apart as a sort of stage manager, mostly looking bored as she reads a celebrity rag but occasionally chiming in.)
Full article at nytimes.com: Review: ‘Key Change’ Hears From Women in Prison
Carol Tambor publishes a monthly newsletter, which announces worthy shows coming to New York, along with occasional information about London theatre and, of course, the Edinburgh Fringe.