An exploration of communication breakdown, relationship strains, and depression is tackled in Antler Theatre’s show ‘Lands’, playing at Summerhall.
Bouncing on a small trampoline, Sophie says she is ‘stuck’ and unable to get off, even though she wants to. Meanwhile, her flatmate//lover/friend/sister (unclear but I don’t think it matters) Leah is engrossed in a large jigsaw puzzle, documenting in immense detail every piece she comes across. The pair communicate only in shouting over Sophie’s squeaky trampoline, constantly asking each other what the other said. It’s an interesting choice of activities, as they both conjure up images of childhood, as the two seem to only care about their own activities, with Leah bringing conversation back to her perfectly-ordered puzzle.
Though at first accustomed to the sound of Sophie’s bouncing, I begin to grow frustrated like Leah at the sound. It digs into my brain, pounding it, and I want it to stop. Her legs must be aching, why can’t she just get off? It is compelling to watch Leah pull the trampoline from under Sophie, who with incredible precision still manages to stay jumping on it.
It is through this frustration, and the sheer number of ways Leah attempts to get Sophie off of the trampoline, that it dawns on me how much this situation resembles that of someone close to you having depression and not knowing an appropriate way of dealing with it. Leah pushes and pulls and slaps Sophie, without actually asking her what the problem is. She’s quick to judge, and assume, and have a quick remedy, but not to get to the root of the problem to fully try to understand it. It’s a really clever way of showing this breakdown in communication, and Leah’s speech about “not caring” about anything talking to the audience about how she doesn’t care about a multitude of things, from global warming to who does the washing up.
‘Lands’ is a show which, though simple in its delivery, gets under your skin and makes you really feel for both characters’ situations in ways you don’t expect. It addresses whether we can ever understand each other’s loneliness and feelings, and is an important play for a society which tends to turn a blind eye to everyone’s problems.