This year of student drama has regrettably been pretty safe, although enjoyable. However, Omission has stood out as a creative, brave and thoroughly alternative piece of theatre. Last year I worked with Jess Barber as my choreographer for The Fastest Clock in the Universe where she was incredible, however, one year later it was clear how she has progressed. Her choreography for both shows would have not been out of place in a professional setting but what impressed me so much with Omission was Barber’s skill and creativity resulting in stand out movement direction for a cast of ten people. The physical theatre elements of the show were beautiful to watch, accompanied by haunting original music written by Ben Farrar as well as brilliant song choices by artists such as Lana Del Rey and Alt-J.
Omission was an adaptation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, putting Nora in a modern context with a loving family, impressive job and recently deceased father. Emma Phelan played the lead role in a stunning performance – she was graceful and poised in her physical sequences yet captured a lovely tenderness through her beautiful facial expressions. Hattie Kemish played Nora’s ‘reflection’ with effortless elegance making for a wonderful dance performance. Ed Shock was another excellent dancer, capturing Nora’s disinterested and cold husband very well. Hattie Audaer in stark contrast brought total passion and anguish as Nora’s widowed mother in a thoroughly moving portrayal of vulnerability.
I did feel that there could have been more integration between the physical sequences and sections of dialogue – the structure was subsequently quite choppy as they were unconnected meaning that scenes seemed a little flat after the exhilaration of the physical sections. In order to take the project further, which I am thrilled to hear the team are considering doing, I feel that the script would need a little development. The dialogue was a little clunky in places and for me the character development and emotion came from the physical elements which I would love to have seen even more of. Similarly, I believe that as an adaptation of A Doll’s House there needed to be a little more build up to Nora’s departure – in Ibsen’s work the spectator entirely understands and even supports the protagonist abstaining from her duty of a wife and mother. However, with Omission Nora’s behaviour seemed a little erratic and incoherent, thus making it hard for us to sympathise with her. However, admittedly, it is difficult to do this in a production of less than an hour.
A huge well done to all of the team – they have produced something exciting and different which was a treat to watch. I look forward to them taking the project further forwards and hugely commend the cast for their stamina, commitment and polished performances.