Arts Review: Nothing To Be Done

Chaseplay Theatre, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, 14th-15th November

presented as part of ELIA’s NEU/NOW Festival 2014

Watching Nothing to be Done is like looking at my reflection in a muddy puddle. It’s a true reflection of the existential crisis I and many others face every day. The all-female play inspired by Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, written by newcomer Meghan Tyler, presents a perfect paradox of nothingness versus the exploration of life’s biggest questions as two young women – Lulu and Cece – wait for a train that may never come; all the while discussing if merely existing is enough, if ignorance is truly bliss and what the hell is the point of it all anyway?

With snippets of extremely witty dialogue and both dark and light humour, delivered with a backdrop of consistent moroseness and pessimism, the play forms an accurate depiction of life’s depressing truisms concerning inner conflict. The performance itself lasts only an hour, and with only four actresses and the stage is set up very basically – scattered with pieces of rubbish from knocked over bins to create a dismal atmosphere of the station. All these factors provided scope for a prime emphasis on the all-important and fascinating dialogue.

Lulu and Cece are very close friends who function as a contrast between the desire to remember and the desire to forget, and Titis and Happy (Pozzo and Lucky in Beckett’s play), present subordination and power, as Titis prances around with Happy, who she calls ‘Bitch’, on a leash. The result of this subordination highlights the futility of it all, screaming that power doesn’t matter once you’re dead.

Nothing matters once you’re dead, and we as humans are all involved in this waiting game, lingering, loitering, waiting to die.  There is no concluding burst of hope – the play ends with the women hugging each other in disparity, with Lulu crying ‘What is the point?’ The answers aren’t given because nobody has them.  Nobody truly knows what life is all about, or what there is to do.

[Sarinah O’Donoghue – @notmiserable_]

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