This Stays in the Room is about the power of confession. It follows four people throughout different stages of their lives, each carrying secret burdens. These narratives are revealed bit by bit, intermixed with random breaks of song, performance, and chalk.
Yes chalk. The blackboards on either sides of the gallery were part of the performance, old school chalk intermixing with projected faces.
This is not gateway theatre. Horseshoes and Hand Grenades Theatre has crafted a complex and discordant 60 minutes that can be difficult to piece together. It doesn’t hold the audience’s hand and experiments with unusual theatre moments. Some of it works, and some of it is beyond my comprehension.
A few examples: faces projected onto a clothesline made out of men’s shirts; the serving of watermelon, goat’s cheese, and a balsamic reduction; huge origami pieces made out of chalky poster paper.
There were coming of age stories. Stories of shame and sexual discovery. Stories of happiness; of those little moments of gratitude that are unspoken but remembered. And most importantly, of guilt. Oh yes, plenty of guilt. It seemed to be the universal that carried across cultures, genders, sexuality, and ages.
This Stays In The Room shows us that we’re all dealing with the echoes of life and trying to make sense of it. Saying it aloud gives us strength. There is power in these words, and shared empathy. The play is a beautiful mess that mirrors real life, where fragments of memory often float to the forefront, coloured by grief, loss, joy, and shame.
This Stays In The Room plays at Gallery Gachet until March 30. Advanced tickets here.
Photo Credit: Tim Matheson.