The sepia screen

7th February 1997 at 00:00
Sea of Faces Theatre Alibi Northcott Studio Theatre, Exeter and touring

We have difficulty with other people's old photographs. Even when they are neatly ordered in an album, we flick the pages rather quickly, ignorant of the stories behind them. Imagine then that you are exploring a bagful of them from a rubbish pile. Such is the starting point of this show.

Declining the obvious approach of documentary history, Sea of Faces deals more with the nature of photographs - with writer Daniel Jamieson loosely tying this theme together with snippets of linear narrative and the looping recurrence of love and war.

Mostly, this works, but there are times when it would have been good to have known more about fewer people.

Crisp playing from Henry Hawkes and Emma Rice enables them to portray many characters without confusion. Inescapably, we realise that the people in the snapshots are just like ourselves. The strength of the production lies in its removal of the sepia screen that separates us from the past, allowing the subjects to escape for a while into our lives.

Following Sea of Faces's Exeter run, Alibi, beneficiaries of South West Arts' decision to fund fewer companies more generously, are embarking on a major tour of the South of England.

Northcott Studio Theatre, Exeter, until February 8. Tour details: 01392 217315

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today