believe it, but Caryl Churchill’s Fen has never had a professional
London production since its premiere in 1983. Consequently, though I’ve
read and taught the play a number of times, I’ve never seen it. It may
be my favourite unseen play.
But now I have - and in style. Ria
Parry’s production at the Finborough is exquisitely judged. The multiple
characters are played by six actors on a small traverse of earth, with a
wooden bridge at one end and the battered cupboards of a Fenland home
at the other.
The sure decisions here are about the reality of things. Onions in a crate, potatoes in a pail, stones on the earth. Fen is about a life lived in the materiality of things, from which the characters struggle to lift themselves - high on a tractor, elevated by money, lifted on stilts. The production caught that beautifully.