There is something inherently intriguing about people-watching, whether from a pavement cafe or on the tube perhaps. Seeing a glimpse of other people’s unguarded lives is a bit like watching a soap opera, but in the absence of scriptwriters it’s left to your imagination to fill in the blanks. Ron Elisha’s Window, at the Bread and Roses Theatre, captivates the audience by taking this concept a few steps further and explores what happens when looking through a window becomes more like looking in the mirror.
Jimmy and Grace seem like a normal couple; along with their new born baby they occupy a fairly ordinary flat, but when one day Grace looks out the window and sees straight into the opposite flat – things change. The occupants never close their curtains, and are always naked, usually in the midst of some sexual act. At first, it’s amusing to Jimmy and Grace, a little titillating even, then they start to compare; the rampant sex lives of their neighbours puts their lacking in the bedroom department under the microscope.
Over the course of five years, the amusement turns to obsession for one of the characters, and the intrigue becomes a bizarre form of addiction, which impacts the day to day dynamic of the whole family. With no concrete facts, an entire life, including names, is created for the exhibitionists, and the consequences of such voyeurism fully realised.
The set works well, everything happens in the bedroom, and the bed and wire frame lampshades accurately depict ordinary living. A clothes rail is put to good use as the actors continually change clothes, in sharp contrast to their opposite numbers, whose beautiful and perfect naked bodies are often the topic of conversation. The actors look ‘out of the window’ towards the audience, there is a curtain there, but it’s rarely drawn.