Reviews OWE & Fringe Published 17 November 2014

Go See

King's Head Theatre ⋄ 12th - 29th November 2014

A threnody to dividedness.

Laura Seymour

No carpet-knight in the field of anthropology, David (Peter Tate) has eaten human flesh (‘to be polite’) as he researched his most famous book. Lured by the promise of ‘real naked ladies’ to the red light district, the middle aged professor pays to interview the sex worker Michelle/Marie (Lauren Fox) to help him research human sexuality. Go See focuses on these two characters’ attempts to scrutinise each other’s lives, dazzled by darkness as much as by garish enamelled lies.

It’s interesting, then, that for much of the play, Marie cannot physically see David at all. Cased nearly naked in her booth, observed through a one-way mirror, he can see a lot of her but he is just a voice to her. She talks back at, harangues, and helps, a man she imagines, her gaze off-kilter. Tellingly, this setup enables David to see Marie clearly, looking straight at her and into her eyes without ever making eye contact, just as throughout the play he aims to gain insight into her life without really connecting with her. Later, spicing their stories with truth, David and Marie both try to set up an invisible one-way mirror of their own as they seduce each other in assumed personas. David pretends to be Paul, son of Mr Sears the department store magnate (often, humorously, completely forgetting he is doing so, clutching the role as loosely and slippily about him as an ill-fitting stocking from one of his supposed ladies-wear emporia). Marie is Michelle, a rich lady and a glamorous model who has seen the world. What neither can hide is that they are looking for love.

These are people living strained, artificial lives, with David forced to live against his nature as a gay man for many a long lavender year of marriage, whilst Marie has spent nearly four decades with her memories of friendship and dreams of a successful modelling career limp and shapeless as mist in her hands. But instead of playing against the sharpness of the
script, and relying on it to pull them apart, I felt that Sondra Lee’s direction and the performances of Fox and Tate left the couple overly disconnected from each other. The second half of Go See becomes increasingly warmer and poignant as each character reveals what is behind their respective costume-boxes of pretences: a lost friendship and a rejection from someone who was trusted; a sudden feeling of freedom amid a faraway tribe for whom homosexuality between men is the norm.

Norman Mailer is quoted in the play’s promotional material, frantically kicking himself that his wife Norris Church is the better playwright. Her funny, turn-on-a-penny script bears everything up as well as the most many-triangled of house frames (and there is a lovely moment of poetry when Marie describes covering her own house in rattling pie plates from
the factory her brother worked in, ‘it was like living in sequins’). Go See is a threnody to dividedness, shot through with fits of category-blurring gare, like tears blurring the neat tables in a textbook of structural anthropology.


Laura Seymour

Laura Seymour is writing a PhD thesis on cognitive theory and Shakespeare in performance. Her poems have appeared in several journals such as 'Iota', 'Envoi', 'Ambit', and 'Magma'. Her book 'The Shark Cage' won the 2013 Cinnamon Press debut collection prize and is forthcoming in 2015.

Go See Show Info

Directed by Sondra Lee

Written by Norris Church Mailer

Cast includes David Tate and Lauren Fox




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