By Zachary Sheridan
Yourseven is a delight and wonder filled experience. Based on Jacques’ famous soliloquy from As You Like It, the work is a collaboration between WAYTCo and PICA completed under the direction of James Berlyn. In promenade style, audiences are invited through sensorial worlds that engage in what Shakespeare’s character believed to be the seven stages of life. These being the infant, the whining school-boy, the lover, the soldier, the justice, before the sixth age shifts to the last scene of all.
I would prefer to keep the nuances of the spheres you find yourself in a secret, so that you can experience it with the same surprise I did. Sans to say, this quiet, joyous, meditative journey is not to be missed. Yourseven holds within it a special aura that feels something like being wrapped up in a blanket and nursed like a baby. It’s in this care we find something very different from the outside bustling Fringe World.
At each stop along the way, a polaroid picture is snapped that you can fold away in your pocket after the performance for safekeeping. In these images our lives compressed. Questions are asked along this journey that deserve further reflection post performance. Where are my priorities? Am I achieving balance? What will I do with my days here before I’m cut loose from life?
Both of PICA’s works this Fringe – the other being Seeking basic needs and other tales of excess – ask us to suspend and step outside the bubbles we generally find ourselves in. Both do so through imaginative ways.
In Yourseven, credit must go to the whole team behind this work. All technical elements – crafted by the likes of Chris Donnelly, Matt Bairstow, Jane Barwell, Chris Van Tuinen, and Late Night Shopping – come together cohesively. It’s really wonderful to see WAYTCo create a piece where the most important thing is the work itself. For young performers, this is probably a key lesson. It needn’t matter who the “star” is, just that the story and world are served above all.