I remember being speechless and slightly confused (in a good way) by the end of the 75 minute site-specific performance. I remember walking along the street painfully aware that I was surrounded by people who had been at the same place as me at the same time as me but may not be necessarily have had the exact same experience as me. I believe the words, 'Is it really over?' escaped my lips which then sparked a conversation with a lady who, walking beside me, later confirmed my earlier suspicions.
I arrived at the lobby at HOME, early as usual, and got my ticket from the front desk. I flipped through the programme I was given to learn a bit more about the people behind the show but when I heard the announcement that the show was about to start, I gathered my belongings and went to go find my seat feeling a mix of anxiety and curiosity. The first thing we were met with really set the tone of the entire show. Unprecedented. Caution. Resignation. These are the words that popped into my head as I took in the setting during those first few moments as we waited for the performance to begin. And when it did I remember being overcome with the need to step out of my seat and join the cast on stage. There were times where I felt as cold or as flustered or as out of place or overwhelmed as the characters appeared to be. There were times where I wanted to reach out and help or was spoken to directly or made to feel like a fly on the wall. It was the first time that I felt my presence was part of the story being told. It was freaking brilliant!! But I have to say, it was the last scene that got me. It was so... abrupt. The mix of silence and the busyness of the rest of the world that you were forced to join made the whole 75 minutes a little surreal.
If you are looking for something new to do this week and are in the Manchester areas that I urge you to book a ticket and go see On Corporation Street at HOME (10th - 25th June). I do not think you will be disappointed. The small, intimate moments that are easily captured on screen with the use of close-ups are seamlessly translated to the stage by ANU Productions & HOME under the direction of Louise Lowe. The cast gave such engaging, powerful and empathetic performances that for the first time I felt completely swept up in the emotions exuded by characters in a play. Fourteen actors and actresses make up the cast - seven from Manchester (Etta Fusi, Gurjeet Singh, Jamie Matthewman, Joe McNally, Reuben Johnson, Sonia Hughes & Yusra Warsama) and seven from Ireland (Alexandra Conlon, Amanda Coogan, Craig Connolly, John Cronin, Liam Heslin, Niamh McCann & Úna Kavanagh); each sharing their characters experiences of the day the IRA bombed Corporation Street back in 1996. But it's not just what they say that makes an impact - sound, lighting and setting definitely play a big part as well giving the stories another dimension and depth, making for an altogether memorable show.