Numbered Days – Ryan Leder’s professional playwrighting debut – proved an intense and intimate look not just at long distance relationships, but relationships on the whole.
From the off we’re immersed into Rebecca’s (Georgie Cunningham) life – she’s there pottering around in her bedroom, where all of the action takes place, as we’re taking our seats. And it’s from Rebecca’s “side” that we are viewing the ups and downs of her long distance relationship with Irish student in the US, Charlotte (Joy Carleton).
While the play is fairly static as a result of the video call conversations, the dialogue quickly moves the audience emotionally through the uncertainty, the jealousy and the need to connect with someone you can’t physically touch. We soon shared Rebecca’s feelings of isolation in the relationship, and sympathised with her struggle to not feel left out while Charlotte spent time with her friends. The use of the TV to project Charlotte’s face to the audience while Rebecca chatted to her on her tablet was effective, and the stillness of the earlier scenes highlighted the power of their feelings when they are finally on the stage together.
The strength of the acting from both Cunningham and Carleton never waivers – the writing takes the characters through emotional highs and lows, but it’s the quiet moments that really shone here. The scene where Charlotte bares her soul in the dark was incredibly moving – I’m certain there wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the end of her speech. There was an extraordinary chemistry between the actors, and they captured the innocence and awkwardness of a new relationship perfectly.
It was slick, well rehearsed and I must applaud both performers for carrying such weighty issues with apparent ease. The play is witty and didn’t shy away from any aspect of relationships – sex, family, jealousy and insecurity were all faced head on, with Leder’s beautifully penned dialogue never making the subjects seem forced or unnatural.
The simple set was well used, switching from Rebecca’s student and family homes, and while the lighting was minimal it was used to great effect to demonstrate the change in time and location.
This was an outstanding debut piece, and I look forward to seeing what Ryan Leder will produce next.
Theatre In Black “Numbered Days” The Core at Corby Cube, Launchpad Festival July 21st 2017
Becki is a theatre lover originally from Birmingham. She founded On Stage Northants in 2017, and is passionate about promoting Northampton performing arts. She also works for Royal & Derngate as Marketing and Press Assistant. Can usually be found behind the scenes, and occasionally in front of them too. Becki also blogs at StageyRebel