Pink Milk – The New Theatre, Dublin
Director: Nora Kelly-Lester
Reviewer: Laura Marriott
Pink Milk was created by Dublin’s The New Theatre artists in residence Lauren Shannon Jones and Nora Kelly-Lester. This writer and director duo have offered up an interesting one hour show in the form of Pink Milk. This is a dystopian fantasy, considerably different to their previously celebrated works Crow and The Assassination of Brian Boru. The New Theatre Residency Programme has given many artists the chance to develop their craft and this show suggests that Jones and Kelly-Lester are moving in the right direction.
Anna Matthews, played by Megan O’Flynn, lives alone on the top floor of a high-rise apartment. As she points out she is so high up even the clouds are below her. She never leaves her home and her only visitor is the delivery man. He waits outside her door with her parcels wearing a mask and tentatively trying to ask her out. There are some laughs and tender moments as he shows his interest in Anna and the audience seemed to be able to relate to the awkwardness of a relationship at its very beginning.
Both characters are trapped in their isolation. It is not just physical. The high-rise apartment keeps them apart from the rest of mankind, however they have both adopted different versions of themselves in alternate reality. Online Anna is a media goddess. The stage darkens. O’Flynn stands in the centre. White squares and futuristic music play out in the background as she dons her headphones and preaches the religion of entertainment to her followers. In this life she is a media goddess, so very different to the wary person who lives alone, receiving boxes of white clothes in the post. Her life is always ordered and controlled until she begins a relationship with the delivery man Auster, played by Shane Robinson.
It is slightly scary to see how the seeds of digital control and isolation are sown and could easily turn into the twisted world view that Pink Milk presents. The way in which our online lives impact upon our day to day life and relationships is interesting and current. As Auster spends his spare time playing video games with strangers online we see that he is just as alone as Anna. No longer investing in anything outside of their virtual lives; they seem to have separated themselves from their work and their pasts in order to be able to cope with the reality they find themselves in. This dystopian love story is flooded with loneliness as the characters create and hide behind their masks to avoid facing the bad things that they have done.
Unfortunately, Pink Milk tells but doesn’t show. It seems that the characters have to tell the audience what they should think and feel because the plot and characters are not showing us this. Innovative ideas are let down by lack of narrative drive, with little for the audience to sink their teeth into. The poignant, somewhat sad ending is the highlight as our protagonists are finally drawn together; offering a peek into their lives before they invested themselves online. Pink Milk shows the seeds of a unique idea that with further development could turn into something special.
Runs until 9 July 2016 | Image: New Theatre