This powerful piece of drama highlights the lasting impact of domestic abuse.
Inspired by interviews conducted with women as part of Chickenshed’s outreach project called Survivors, In the Absence of Silence is a heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful piece of drama that explores the mental and physical impact of domestic violence.
Five women gather on a beach for a day of fun and laughter – but also it is a time for reflection and moving forward from their very different experiences as the conversations turn to focus on their spouses. Thanks to the way in which Dave Carey and Christine Niering have created this piece, it is a sensitive and compelling piece of drama that effectively puts all the stories centre stage.
Directed with simplicity and frankness by Joseph Morton and Niering, In the Absence of Silence holds the audience’s attention in the way in which it gradually builds up the tension, and each woman’s anguish and sorrow emerges with frankness and honesty – with tales of physical and mental abuse being uncovered. But as harrowing as it is, there is a glimmer of hope as each character begins to find a way forward away from the horror of their relationships.
It is consistently sharp, the way in which the mood suddenly switches from laughter to each character offering comfort to each other adds to the intensity – as well as being helped by the dramatic use of lighting designed by Andrew Caddies. The level of focus is impressive – even watching it through screen, still maintaining the intimacy of the piece and allowing the audience to be drawn into the story effectively.
At just an hour long, it is a very direct but still sympathetic piece of theatre with excellent performances from all of the cast (Charlotte Bull, Elsie Lyons, Jojo Morrall, Louise Perry and Holly Skinner) that get to the heart of the characters and their experiences beautifully.
In the Absence of Silence is a compelling, heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful piece that will hopefully give courage to others who find themselves in the same situation.
By Emma Clarendon
In the Absence of Silence is available to watch on Youtube now.