[THEATRE: Review] Pin Drop
Despite what commercial television producers might need us to believe, the most threatening things in life aren’t always gory and gruesome larger-than-life criminal masterminds. Threat exists in the very real possibility of things going just wrong enough, and if you have ever lived in a city of decent size the odds are the knowledge of this threat is drummed into you like a heartbeat.
Tamara Saulwick’s Pin Drop starts with pitch-perfect re-performances of interviews she conducted with twelve women on their experiences of threat. Their sensations, thought processes and fears elicit tiny gasps and shudders of recognition from the audience. As the piece moves into more abstract territory – menacing loops of sound, strange tableaux and shadow-plays – the unease in the seating banks only grows.
Of particular interest is the way in which seeing the mechanisms by which Saulwick turns the screws on our anxieties in no way lessens their effect. We can see her scrunching plastic under the microphone on her brightly-lit table of tools; we know the scraping of a lock is Saulwick and not an impostor. But with those sounds she conjures up a whole world of primal fear that existed in our minds long before we stepped into this theatre, and simply being here can’t diminish its hold on our imaginations. I know that Saulwick is only slicing a watermelon and not something far more sinister. But the strength of this work is that it allows us to imagine the worst without ever resorting to gratuitously depicting it. It is a tense and visceral hour. We emerge into the bright lights of the foyer and exhale with relief.