The Silenced Symphony

Theatre (new writing, international)

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How can we reconcile the need for freedom and security in a relationship? Where does mindful self-protection end and where does compulsive self-isolation begin? At what point is it worth taking the leap out of your comfort zone for love? The two-hander discusses openly, with humour and without judgement, what happens when letting your walls down in reality is so scary that the safe space of imagination has to help out. When two people stumble upon an emotional hurdle and words aren’t enough, music says more than anything.

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Nic Lawton (co-founder of Expial Atrocious theatre company) 44 days ago

"I don't think I know enough about music to describe you with it."

This is one of the most charming shows I've ever seen. It was upbeat, comedic, cozy, loving, emotional and had a gorgeous set and lighting design. The camera work was nicely done, making the show feel more intimate for the audience, as though you were being told this story as a very welcome third-wheel.
Dylan (Clara Clasen) and Jules (Marvin Goddon) had wonderful chemistry together. They were witty, clever, compassionate, close. I will never get the sound of Dylan saying "YA BOY LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN" out of my head, it was so unexpected but genuinely hilarious.
One of my favourite transitions was when Jules was telling a story and the camera whirled around him, immersing you in his words until it snapped out of it and he was standing behind the sofa talking to Dylan. Something about this was brilliant, and I thought the relationship the actors/characters had with the camera was an interesting language that really worked for this type of show. Adapting what I'm assuming would have been an in-person show to a digital one is not an easy thing to do, but I felt the company did this well and it just makes me want to see this live even more.
The overall storytelling and moments shared between Dylan and Jules was really sweet and I really enjoyed watching them interact. Some of my favourite moments were the subtle movements or looks they shared while sharing a piano stool or gazing at each other from across the black void of the studio. And also, staying in to tell stories to each other with a bottle of wine sounds so much more inviting than an awkward New Year's party with a very illegal firework.
The sadness of the piano has always been an interesting concept to me, and this show made the piano feel like a third character. It had a voice, a life, and supported their scenes with interjections of beautifully composed phrases and scales. They were also absolutely right about how your happiness can be represented by the higher notes and the lower ones are ominous and depict the future, the unknowing. Again, this was another intimate and close discussion shared between the characters and their confession of feelings for one another, even when they themselves were stepping into the shoes of historical figures, were beautifully done. My heart absolutely LEAPT for these two, especially when they spoke about holding onto each other. Even just for a little bit.
With three linking stories going on at the same time, it can be difficult to follow, but The Silenced Symphony is always on track and clearly transitions between each narrative so the audience is never lost or confused. Again, the subtle background music really helped to support these stories, to help tell them apart, and also foreshadow what was coming next.
Now I'm going to get a bit introspective, so bare with me.
The writing of this show was stunning, so huge respect for Elisabeth Lewerenz and her way with words. I'm in awe. I wrote down quite a few quotes that gave me FEELINGS, and there was quite a lot of them. But the way this show made me feel overall was warm, and it really made me pay attention to noise, sounds, music and the human body. There is a moment where they talk about picking at wounds and diving into your past because that's where you were the most happy even if it is painful to remember that you aren't in that place anymore. You are in the present. And you've moved ahead. A lot of this show was about moving on, and it really struck a chord in me. We do, as humans, delve into our memories from time to time to remind ourselves of better times, happy times, even if it makes us sad afterwards. We also then look to the future and worry about something that doesn't exist. We do this to ourselves for so many reasons, but as Jules says, "Why are you already thinking about the end?" It's the not knowing that is troubling. The fact that at some point we need to move ahead and face the music. And this show reminds me that the future can be whatever you make it to be, and you might as well have a banging soundtrack while you get there.
In terms of sounds and music as people, this show really made me think of how we sound to each other and how we sound to ourselves. There are so many elements to us that we truly are holding silent symphonies within ourselves, waiting for the moment to pour them out and let someone else hear it. It's an interesting point that we get to know one another by sound. We learn the sound of people's footsteps, how they breathe, laugh, sigh, what their hesitations indicate. We learn the songs of each other's bodies and can tell when they're happy, calm, or longing.
I thought this show was beautiful and I'm very glad I took the time to watch it. It was poetic and musical and historical and gave me a lot to think about. I'm now going to pour myself a glass of wine and put some classical music on. I think I need a break from playing my laptop keyboard like a piano for a while.

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