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There’s something very Beckettian about this mysterious two-hander. For much of the play, it’s difficult to discern precisely what’s going on. Two men, simply identified in the script as The One and The Other, head out to sea on a boat. But from the broken, ambiguous opening (“I didn’t want to / I just did it”) emerges a powerful, emotionally fractured play.
Questions swirl around the actors like ripples in the bleak puddle-of-water set. Who are these men? Are they brothers, friends, strangers, or even two parts of the same consciousness?
Simon Stephens’s script (a translation of Jon Fosse’s contemporary fable by Simon Stephens) is sparse and monosyllabic, as economical as the set. Gorgeous lighting (Dominique Bruguiere) and atmospheric music (Eric Neveux) build a captivating “otherworld” inside the Young Vic, but it’s up to the two actors on stage to fill what, on paper, looks like an empty, bleak show.
Under the masterly direction of Patrice Chéreau, the characters step and stumble falteringly around tricky subjects: the nature of depression, desire and death. Tom Brooke (The One) and Jack Laskey (The Other) pour deep pools of emotion into their different characters: the former, an empty, hollowed-out, sometimes infuriating depressive with his gaze fixed on the middle distance; the latter more immediate, more caring, closer to the audience, but confused by his companion.
I Am The Wind certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste. It’s very different, and at times, quite difficult. But I thought there was something rather moving in it: within the short, choppy story, you might find something uplifting too.
I Am The Wind plays at the Young Vic until 21 May. Book tickets at www.youngvic.com