There’s nothing like a lonely boat trip, isolated from the rest of the world, to induce a little existential chatter. The lapping water and seclusion is like catnip for philosophers.
Bobbing alone on the ocean is exactly where we find the pair of protagonists – identified simply as The One and The Other in the script – for the majority of Simon Stephens’s version of Jon Fosse’s I Am The Wind.
The first words of the piece, “I didn’t want to / I just did it”, tell us that something has happened, but before we find out the precise nature of this event we follow the two would-be-sailors on their voyage in which discussion of the pressures of life, the nature of want and the intrigue of death are more of a driving force than the blowing wind.
At times it feels like a seaborne therapy session, at others as though Waiting For Godot’s Vladimir and Estragon have decided to take a holiday excursion.
Under the acclaimed guidance of director Patrice Chéreau, Tom Brooke and Jack Laskey fill the existential angst with emotion: Brooke’s One a wide-eyed, wiry shell of a man, unhappy with the world, staring bleakly into the greyness of the middle-distance; Laskey’s Other a questioning, concerned, confused companion.
As ever, the Young Vic is inventive in its design, Richard Peduzzi creating a murky puddle in the centre of a wide, gravelly floor, from which emerges the seafarers’ hydraulic mode of transport. Éric Neveux’s music and Dominique Bruguière’s lighting unobtrusively ratchet up the atmospherics.
Much like the sea on which the pair sail, there’s little action in I Am The Wind. For the most part it is not a tempestuous gale, more a mild summer breeze that catches the attention causing you to pause and think.