By Ben Ayaydin
The Twilight Zone has an interesting premise. The play consists of a combination of different episodes from the hit TV show of the same name. I decided to go into this play blind, which probably wasn’t the best idea since I haven’t seen the TV show and therefore I wasn’t aware that the play was made up of different episodes from the show rather than a single narrative. As a result of this, I was confused between which characters a specific actor was playing and therefore muddled up the different narratives. Consequently, I feel that you would get a different experience and a different reaction to the play depending on whether you had seen the TV show and whether you hadn’t. This is due to the fact that the play contains many references to the TV show (as you would expect), who someone such as myself was completely oblivious to.
Despite this I really enjoyed the stylistic design of the set created by set designer Paul Steinberg, which consisted of the layout of the stage mirroring that of a TV screen. In addition, there was a lot of bleak colours used on the set, creating a slightly uncanny and sinister atmosphere which was further emphasised by the lighting. This decision really amplified the whole experience the play set out to create and added an element of emersion to the different narratives.
I found a lot of the stories were interesting in that they reflect certain aspects of human nature. There was a wide range of elements incorporated, ranging from the comic to the disturbing. In particular some moments were quite intense, for instance there was a scene where a nuclear fallout was imminent, which had me clinging on to my seat.
When I came out of the theatre, my immediate reaction was that I didn’t like the play. I felt this was due to the fact that I was completely lost in the different narratives and therefore did not get a grip of what the play was about. However, the next day having spent time letting it sink in and reflect on the play, the idea and concepts presented grew on me, and therefore ended up quite liking it. This is a play that you need to probably watch a second time, to help you understand if you haven’t seen the tv show. Moreover, the play will appeal to a certain type of audience and whilst I’d recommend it for the creativity and ingenuity displayed, it is not for everyone. It’s not a play that has changed me or made me think about life in a different way, but it has made me want to see more of the TV show .
The Twilight Zone was adapted by Anne Washburn and Directed by Richard Jones.
Photo Credit: Almeida Theatre