Written by Rita Kalnejais
Jermyn Street Theatre
OFFIE FINALIST 2022: PRODUCTION (PLAYS)
Directed by Chirolles Khalil
Designer: Niall McKeever
Lighting/Projection Designer: Timothy Kelly
Sound Designer: Katy Hustwick
Stage Manager: Lisa Cochrane
Movement Director: Max Keeble
Costume Supervisor: Camille Thiery
Elodie and Otto are teenagers in love. Hidden in their farmhouse-loft, they talk, tease and touch. Elodie has found a small egg and brought it home and Otto wants to start a war – with pillows. Outside, the picture is different: it is Chartres, 1944 and a real war is raging. Elodie lives under German occupation while Otto, a soldier, pledges faith to the Fuhrer. Can a beautiful future emerge from this single night of artillery raids?
The set, designed by Niall McKeever, is distractingly gorgeous. There were brief moments when I tried to interpret whether the walls were secretly part of the story, as if the conical points represented soldiers on the battlefield.
The blossoming relationship between Otto and Elodie and the little life they are creating within the egg is cleverly juxtaposed with the death and destruction on the outside, further represented by Niall Mckeever’s brilliant set. The harsh black spikes emerging from the walls suggest the sharp reality trying to fight its way into the beautiful setting of their bed, picnic and flowers.
Niall McKeever’s design, which places a mattress in the centre of a modern-day sound studio, bridges history with the present. The single window is our only access to the outside world; the spiky acoustic foam that decorates the walls marks imminent danger from the other side
'..with a strong feel for invoking the deserted house with its mattress, pillow and single chair, then with a wall evoking both spikes (German) and eggs (yes) twin shapes erupt from the small backstage wall like an obsidian sci-fi movie. It’s novel, deliberately other. This design entwines with the lighting and projection design of Timothy Kelly owning a delicate storyboarding of its own. As we’ve seen the sound design of Katy Hustwick is key not just in those recorded voices, but in the chirrup of a new dawn, punctuated with undertones of war. This play lives within a sound capsule, and fragility is what the situation and the lovers’ feelings compass'