Director’s Note: Low Level Panic

By and Zara Ewen

Low Level Panic, written by Clare McLyntre, showcases a window into the lives of three women in their twenties, Jo, Mary and Celia. A window specifically into their shared bathroom over two days. A space in which time does not intrude, Jo and Mary unpack their personal traumas and struggles through a rollercoaster of honest, funny and raw dialogue, underpinned by a deep analysis of identity in a male-dominated society. Jo fantasises about being desirable by every man ever, while destructing her body image, and Mary, a victim of recent sexual assault, contrarily fears the outside world. 

It is their space of disclosure, and Celia can’t help but feel like the deadwood of the trio, which is soon overlooked by her disregard for Jo and Mary’s messy habits, and her somewhat innocence and ignorance to the male gaze. Our vision aimed to encapsulate the relationships between the women, and the 80s set and to focus on the humour in the light moments of this amazing play which covers so many dark themes in a short hour.

Jo fantasises about being desirable by every man ever, while destructing her body image, and Mary, a victim of recent sexual assault, contrarily fears the outside world

Set in the 1980s, these themes are no less significant today, and are part of the continuum of violence against women, in which womanhood and identity are impacted. The foundation of the play is simply relationships, especially friendship in the light of trauma in which these women find security and safety. Body image and diet culture are themes that run through society today, and unfortunately these conversations on stage are echoed daily, and relatable to many people. We aim to present this in a way that helps us question the bigger picture and open up conversations as to why this is so relatable to many. 

The foundation of the play is simply relationships, especially friendship in the light of trauma in which these women find security and safety

Cluttered with mirrors, clothes, and various beauty products, the unproductive and claustrophobic setting of the characters’ shared bathroom is where their individual anxieties manifest. With white bathroom lighting and realistic set, we aim to create this foggy atmosphere, acting as a dumping ground of possessions that evidences the absurd amount of time the characters spend in there. 

A special thank you to Amren Stephenson, who stepped up as lighting director just two days before the show, and quickly learned how to create fantastic lighting sequences that uplift the performance. And to Molly Knox, who has been a tremendous help with sound, working alongside Amren to navigate all the tech the day before opening night. A huge thank you to the prod team who have been a delight to work with, making the process as smooth and creative as possible – particularly thank you to for producing fantastic promotion videos and always offering helpful solutions, making our job a lot more manageable. 

The conclusion of the play leaves the space exactly how we found it, although Jo and Mary are now swamped in a trail of the night before, nevertheless finding comfort in one another. Leaving the audience at a sudden close in dialogue, the beauty of friendship ripples beyond the blackout. 

Image Credit: Sightlines Theatre Company

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