Something More Glamorous, Shell Shocked, Burnt Out… and now, the Weather explores the mental landscape of a war correspondent as she comes to terms with her role in the news machine of television journalism. Being that it is set inside a human mind trained by years in the rapid-fire worlds of warzones and newsrooms, it is dark, odd and, even as it presents moments that seem to have meaning in themselves, somewhat difficult to navigate in terms of their relation to one another.
This dark confusion seems deliberate, but it is a distinct barrier in enjoying the time spent within the world created by the show. I am ready to embrace not knowing what is going on, but eventually in a piece of theatre, I want the elements of the abstract/symbolic to be grounded in something tangible. The lived reality behind the mental space we explore throughout this show is very often unexplained, or at least unclear.
For example, there is a recurring scene with characters diagnosing the brokenness of a person sitting in the front row. They explain his symptoms, prescribe treatment, and check on his progress. But I can’t think and don’t understand why this particular image lives inside the main character’s mind. In contrast, I’m very willing to accept the presence on stage of a giant inflatable swan named George, who “just hangs out” as a part of the character’s childhood, because we learn about this non-mental reality somehow so it can mean something to us. The doctors’ diagnosis (not to mention their accents) has no discernible bearing on or source in the character’s “objective” lived reality.
There are some powerful moments and images made on stage throughout this production, and the show is generally well executed. Its ambitions as art are high, and at times I overcame the difficulty of understanding what exactly was going on with a simple appreciation for what was unfolding before me. Even more, I appreciate what I see to be the show’s intentions and aspirations in terms of its story, and the structure of its recounting. Unfortunately, intentions unrealized don’t make for spectacular theatrical experience. I hope this young company keeps telling stories like this, and that we’ll all benefit from the realization of their ambitions.