BWW Review: OPHELIA REWOUND, Camden People's Theatre
Performer Antigoni Spanou wades through depression and eating disorders exploring the character of Ophelia and puts her own lived experiences next to the character's in an interactive piece titled Ophelia Rewound. Sharp and decisive lighting opens the highly personal journey and sets the tone for what's set to be an extremely visual and instinctive experiment.
She introduces instances that resemble performance art, where silences envelop her movements to tell a a tale of despair and disillusionment, and includes poetry. "Sorry, I'm not used to having guests" she repeats throughout when her role's limited social skills fail to fulfil her intentions.
Projections also accompany the narration as she opens up and hands over tidbits of her issues. The audience learn how she's never had a friend and has been abused by the men she loved all her life. Water is a constant presence both in real and projected form, hinting at Ophelia's fate and her affiliation with it.
The cathartic and stirring ending makes up for the slight discomfort that permeates the interactions with the audience. While the run-through of the production mentions that the crowd will be part of the story but due to the exceptionally intimate nature of the material, it's difficult to control the outcome of these exchanges and it feels like there's little to no safeguarding of the public.
She does, however, brilliantly break the barrier between actor and onlookers, blurring the line between reality and character. The show is vivid in its imagery and touching in its landing. The levels of personal involvement slightly preclude a broader provocation but Spanou presents the typical stereotypes and plateaus of living with fragile mental health in heartbreaking form.