By Catherine Hart
Hidden is a simple tale yet one that many women can relate to in some way. Its themes of motherhood, life and death are realistic and the story is relatable.
The premise is based on three women taking the same fifteen hour flight. Agatha Christie (with an emphasis on the christ), played by Ingrid Beach is a no-nonsense business woman with a clear intention of working throughout the flight. Lucy, played by Hazel Twissell, is a flight attendant with a sore stomach and sassy attitude. Felicity Matheson, played by Nikkie Karki, is a single mother, with two twin children and a baby accompanying her.
Through some unbelievable misfortune Agatha and Felicity end up sitting next to each other, and the slightly transparent plot begins to unravel. Through the use of flashbacks and monologues each character reveals their story of motherhood, their trials and successes, and I can feel other mothers in the audience connecting with the themes.
The design of the show is basic yet effective. Using a partition Twissel is able to change between costumes flawlessly without needing to exit the stage, allowing fluid transitions. I do spend a fair amount of time wondering how the phone used for crew announcements is hooked up to the venue’s sound system, and it creates a believable performance of a safety briefing.
At times the writing is expositional. There is a struggle for the actors to show their emotions since they are constantly informing us of their exact feelings, and the reasons behind them. This is especially evident in the monologues, and by the fact that it seems unrealistic that Agatha would reveal her innermost feelings to Felicity, a complete stranger.
I am not a mother. However, I can feel that every single mother in the room can relate to the action onstage. Travelling with children is undoubtedly a difficult feat, and I’m sure that the seemingly ridiculous aggression expressed by complete strangers is a very real occurrence.
My only major concern there is no representation of the women who are not interested in being mothers. As we move forward into a more equal world we must remember that not every woman desires to carry offspring, and that is okay. Perhaps this is due to the play being based on the actor’s own experiences, but it is a shame nonetheless.
Overall Hidden is a charming tale of motherhood. It is easy to follow and uses realistic situations to tell the stories of three women at different stages in their lives. There is definitely room for development, and I can see it appealing to a wider audience throughout New Zealand.