Faith, hope and charity review
Directed by Alexander Zeldin
Presented at the Ateliers Berthier as part of the Festival d’Automne in Paris, ‘Faith, Hope and Charity’, Alexander Zeldin’s new work, is about the closure of a food bank in England. This latest instalment in the cycle entitled ‘Les Inégalités’ (Inequalities) proves once again the power of theatre that is as close to reality as possible.
Emotion in the raw
« Love« , the second part of the trilogy imagined by Alexander Zeldin, was a slap in the face. In an English shelter for people in emergency situations, families and lonely individuals who could no longer afford to pay the rent found themselves together. Forced to live together in this shelter, which left little room for privacy, this fragile, limping humanity struggled against adversity and stretched out its arms to us who watched. For a long time, the show haunted us.
« Faith, Hope and Charity« is in the same social and humanist vein. The set reproduces, as close to reality as possible, a run-down food shelter. Used linens, faded walls and curtains, second-hand objects, puddles of water on the floor – these are the outlines of a place where time has left its mark. The place cannot be saved. The closure of the centre is scheduled. Yet women, children and men still come in at set times to eat a hot meal and take part in a choir. In the queue is a group of people left behind. Each life story is dramatic, but in the space of a meal, a community is created.
A Chekhovian universe
Surprisingly, although the play is set in England, in a city hit by the economic crisis, the space and time evoke those of Chekhov’s works. Alexander Zeldin is proud of this reference. He says he wanted to stretch the show over four acts so that his characters could be seen « over time ». As with the Russian playwright, with the same « tenderness », the characters are confronted « with the passage of time, the duration of life and the birth of faith, hope but also disappointment and absence ». In « Faith, Hope and Charity« , the men and women who use the centre aspire to a better life. A life they will never know, or a life that is gone forever.
Among these people, the emblematic mother figure of Hazel stands out. Hazel nurtures, listens and eases the pain. Played by the luminous and charismatic Llewella Gideon, Hazel is the soul and memory of the place. In ‘Love’, Anna Calder-Marshall was magnificent, on the verge of distress and exhaustion, and deeply moving. Under the direction of Alexander Zeldin, the acting of these actresses is gripping because of its sensitive connection with reality. Some of the actors are former homeless, but there is nothing to distinguish them from the rest of the group, because the human community on stage is one.
In « Faith, Hope and Charity », Alexander Zeldin, associate artist of the Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe, underlines the extreme precariousness of the poor, but magnifies their faith, their hope and their mutual aid.
Les LM (elle aime / she likes) de M La Scène : LMMMMM
Faith, Hope and Charity Berthier 17e
Writen and directed by Alexander Zeldin
Lucy Black, Tia Dutt, Llewella Gideon, Tricia Hitchcock, Dayo Kolesho, Joseph Langdon, Shelley McDonald, Michael Moreland, Sean O’Callaghan, Bobby Stallwood, Posy Sterling, Hind Swareldahab
scenograpgy, costumes Natasha Jenkins
light Marc Williams
sound Josh Anio Grigg
movement work Marcin Rudy
In association with Festival d’Automne à Paris