Directed by David McMurray Smith and written by TJ Dawe, Unveiled appears at the Fringe Festival 2023, taking the stage at the Space.
Hailing directly from Canada, psychology professor Ana Mozol presents a one-woman show centred around the myth of Salomé. The character of Herod’s daughter shines in this meta-theatrical performance as a symbol of power and femininity, qualities that have often been suppressed. At the heart of Unveiled the exploration of the masks imposed on womanhood in Western society, bringing the inner female psyche to the forefront and ultimately exposing the harm it endures.
Unveiled weaves together recollections of a staging of Salomé, memories of acting and interpersonal relationships within the cast and crew, power dynamics, feelings of loss and injustice, occasional moments of humour, and perhaps even amusing dating anecdotes, along with broader reflections.
All these elements are bound together by a veil that gracefully flows through the air, enveloping Mozol’s body—a visually intriguing effect. However, the overall outcome of the show is quite underwhelming. The various components seem juxtaposed without a clear guiding thread or overarching vision.
While some moments initially capture the audience’s interest, the latter part of the performance loses momentum, dimming the initial spark it had ignited. Speaking of lighting, the staging appears amateurish, with illumination somewhat distracting due to its abrupt and hasty changes. The writing lacks boldness and comes across as rather stiff in physical movement and dialogue.
Addressing the figure of Salomé in the modern day could yield a more impactful result than this somewhat lacklustre presentation, which culminates in an abrupt denouncement of abuse and rape. While such a moment is invariably moving, especially when it’s a personal revelation, it feels oddly unexpected in this context.