(Please note – this is a play I have read not a production I have seen on stage)
The average person will speak 123,205,750 words in their lifetime. But what would you do if a law was put into place that prohibited the amount of words you could use to only 140 per day. That, among other things, is what this play explores.
Entertaining and interesting play. My only problem with it was that I didn’t connect to the characters at all. I found myself not caring about their problems in the way that I should have. I wasn’t emotionally invested in them or their lives at all. At one point Bernadette discovers that her partner Oliver has had an affair on her and she reacts with merely a ‘thanks for telling me’. I understand that she has limited words but this was one moment where seeing her blow up and shout at him – perhaps running out of language half way through would have been very interesting.
I just felt the play needed more. As interesting as I found it, it definitely needed more. I wanted something else to happen. Maybe for the law to change again or more of an argument between the two characters. The concept behind this play was so unique I feel more could have and should have been done. The characters didn’t get the recognition they deserved. It would have been nice to see one of them have a bit of a breakdown for a moment. Although I could be wrong – perhaps on stage this did happen. That’s the trouble with reading plays, you never know what it was like when it was performed.
I enjoyed how the play kept jumping from past to present, getting to compare what the relationship was like between the two characters when they could speak to one another and when they couldn’t. Ending the play in the past when they are discussing abbreviating a word that we see them use at the start of the play was particularly poignant, their journey has not yet begun – they don’t yet know how this new law is going to change their lives and their relationship. And isn’t that exactly what life is about? The play didn’t exactly reach a clear climax it just carried on going in the same way it had throughout which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It emphasises that life just goes on no matter how rubbish of a situation you are in..