We’ve all been there, said something we wish hadn’t and then thought of a million other ways it could have been said. Perhaps when it comes to remembering those things, we do recall them differently. Stephanie Jacob’s Again, now playing at Trafalgar Studios, examines this idea in the entirely relatable context of the family unit.
An estranged family re-unite, Tom and Louise (Chris Larkin and Natasha Little) are long separated, and the children, now grown up, are shaping very different paths for their lives, even if the return to the nest sees them regressing to childhood. While a pot of soup boils for lunch they reflect on moments in their past, it’s just those memories and perceptions are very different. Scenes are replayed in different ways, allowing the audience glimpses of what might have been, or perhaps what was.
There are outside influences too, Tom has a new partner and young child, while both the children have love interests. These unseen characters are described in one word directly to us, by each family member in turn “Tough. Hips. Microwave Meals.” Clearly, these supplementary characters have untold influence over the family members, permeating each decision made.
Again has deft moments of tenderness, mixed with biting conflict and bright comedy. At one moment the audience is laughing, the next gasping in shock as Again draws them down yet another unforeseen path. The replaying of scenes becomes addictive, as we yearn for another piece of the puzzle, or an alternate ending.