One of the defining characteristics of physical theatre is that the body is meant to express what words can’t. In Wish I Were Here, although promised as a piece of such work, the excess of spoken words, words, words takes the edge off the many physical set pieces.
A collaborative effort between director Andy Crook and four recent graduates of IT Sligo’s four-year performing arts degree, the one hour production is comprised of many elements: movement, mask, images that flash on the upstage wall, words that flash on the upstage wall, suitcases, postcards, paper airplanes and feathers, to name a few.
The primary element that is missing, however, is an emotional connection to the characters. We know who they are because they tell us who they are, but despite the physical theatre provenance, they don’t really show us who they are. By the time they all converge on their common destination, we don’t really know how they got there; and once they do, they don’t do anything about it.
The four young actors commit themselves entirely to the piece, with energy and aplomb, but one is left with the feeling that the piece is not returning the favour.