By Taylor Navarro
Bleached is many things. Nearly too many things. But above all, Bleached is intense and confronting.
Written by Laura Collins and directed by Ruby Rees, this local production explores the universal and unavoidable experiences of human nature, which are often temperamental and destructive.
From the start you are offered insight into the lives of six characters at the peak of their internal turmoil; that make-or-break moment that seemingly decides the rest of their fate as they find themselves linked in some way or another. We understand that in their world, the climate has deteriorated to the point where every country around the world is locking down. With limited time left, the characters are all leaving different stages in their lives to seize their last opportunity to explore and experience before it is too late.
We see a mother abandon her family to escape the suffocation of domesticity. A man ready to change the way he travels for a woman desperately wanting to leave, maybe him. A young adult taking chances to tell a story that they naively misunderstand the cost of.
We see the ever-changing feelings of humans. Their wants and desires ebb and flow as their repressed honesty finally erupts. We see grief and turmoil and so much fear but, also hope.
Supported by a gorgeous script, with performances from highly talented emerging local actors, along with unnerving music and flawless stage direction, Bleached becomes immersive and completely subverts our ideas of the ‘fourth wall’.
The set is constructed completely of recycled trash with an aesthetic that embraces pale, washed out colours. Everything becomes a metaphor encouraging you to create your own interpretation of what ‘Bleached’ truly means. For me, it not only references the dying environment, and how the progressively heating sun saps the world of colour and life, but perhaps the bleaching of humans too, especially as they find themselves more and more exhausted by their choices and regrets.
While there is definitely a target audience (those who’ve contemplated a future of climate extremes), Bleached offers a chance to explore how many younger people view our future. If you’ve ever wondered why mental health issues are on the rise in our demographic, Bleached is for you.
You can catch one final performance at The Bowery Theatre on Fri 14th July @ 7.30pm