Yours, - A Review by Hannah McGregor
Strung together by a series of handwritten letters, Yours by Jennifer Galt brings a new meaning to remote performance. The project sends out physical letters to its participants – I say participants rather than viewers, as the impression that Yours gives is that you are participating in this grand letter exchange, perhaps wrongfully receiving a love note, or a memory from a stranger. Rather than feeling detached from the stories, by holding them in your hands and receiving them in the mail you feel as if you are part of it.
Once your letter is received, you find the sender didn’t leave a name, but a QR code. This code takes you to a website showcasing what are presumed to be all the other letters, including yours, displayed as if scattered on a floor, strewn at different angles. Although an innovative use of a QR code, the shift from a handwritten letter to a digitised QR code on
the page, inviting you to open your laptop, is a little jarring. However, the effect of getting to see all these letters at once online can only be superseded by perhaps receiving them all yourself.
I must admit it was a little confusing at first; the human brain, is, after all, hard-wired to look for patterns and connections. When reorganising and moving the letters around, I found myself trying to find a story, or a link, or something more to make the ‘reason’ I was viewing them clearer – and after some time, I realised that there didn’t seem to be any plot
to piece together.
However, that is obviously not the intention of the project. The stand-out emotion of the piece, for me, was revealed after I had read the other letters. When seeing them all displayed, and noticing your own amongst the pages, you start to think of the other
participants seeing their own letter amongst them too. How would it have felt for the participants to have received them? How does it feel to find a mis-delivered letter, addressing you as Julia, Lenzie, Jon with no H, the beach; and why does it feel that way? Galt’s writing is poetic and luxurious, with every word placed with care and thought. My letter, addressed to the beach, also featured some shells, still with sand encrusted into them, as if a little token. Even though the addressee is not a person, I still felt like I was intruding on a very personal ode to someone’s connection.
It reminded me of how deeply personal it feels to receive a letter – and proves a fantastic prompt for a piece of theatre, which really helps a distant audience member feel like an active participant in the part of the story they hold onto. Although I struggled to see an overall reason for the participant to be viewing their letter, the feeling that I took from it was nonetheless thought-provoking and poignant.
A Review by Hannah McGregor, as part of Framework's Theatre Writers Pilot Scheme