female gothic website

gothic drama

One of our Youth Arts Correspondents, Florentyna Syperek, reviews Dyad Productions‘ recent chilling theatre offer, Female Gothic, which was presented here at the Roe Valley Arts centre on 23 October 2014. 

Are you brave enough to face the creations of your own imagination?

This October we were once again invited by Dyad Productions to explore some fascinating stories under the guidance of Rebecca Vaughan, a wonderful and talented storyteller. Directed by Guy Masterson and written and performed by Vaughan, “Female Gothic” brings to life three spine chilling tales from now forgotten female Victorian writers.

In “Female Gothic”  Vaughan is playing the most powerful instrument of all – human imagination. Even though the stories themselves may not be as terrifying as they would have been back in Victorian times, Vaughan still manages to encourage the strangely familiar shapes of our fears to emerge from the dark depths of sub-consciousness. After all, who can scare us better than our personal demons, whatever or whomever they may be?

This is especially important during the final tale, where Vaughan’s character is recalling her own encounter with the supernatural – the whole audience fell completely silent and the feeling of uneasiness crept in, settling in among the shadows in the Danny Boy Auditorium. At this point, it was clear that Rebecca Vaughan and Dyad Productions have succeeded in making even the most sceptical of the audience members fear what might be lurking in the darkness.

Typical of Dyad Productions, their minimalist staging is very appropriate and proves rather effective, with a lone leather chair and candelabra with three candles which accompany Vaughan allowing all the attention to be focused on the storyteller. The mood of foreboding tension is brilliantly conveyed through clever lighting changes and subtle use of sound throughout the piece.

However, what is particularly fascinating about “Female Gothic” is how the type of stories Vaughan chose to tell and act out weren’t just about providing entertainment for the Victorian readers, but were also a way of showing the frustration female writers were experiencing in relation to the position of women in those times. Those gifted female authors are mostly forgotten now and it is wonderful that Dyad Productions brings their stories to a wider public, helping us remember their importance and the contribution they have made to British culture during that period.

“Female Gothic” is a must-see play for anyone interested in Victorian times or wanting to get into the spirit of Halloween. Fantastically directed and another great example of Vaughan’s talent for storytelling, this is a show that will without doubt be the cause of a few sleepless nights!

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This entry was posted on November 12th, 2014 at 3:28 pm by Desima

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