Tessie Orange-Turner and Sarah Hoare
Photo by Robert Day
All the Little Lights follows three girls, Amy played by Esther-Grace Button, Lisa played by Sarah Hoare and Joanne played by Tessie Orange-Turner. In what seems to be an innocent camping trip/birthday party soon turns into something much darker for all three of the girls as secrets and gritty pasts are unfolded.
It is a harrowing story, shocking, too. If how young Amy is compared to Joanne does not make you unsure about the relationships then the way Joanne talks to Lisa sure will. To begin with, it’s almost like Joanne is purely a villain, she doesn’t seem all that likeable, she seems to be manipulative and cold and yet by the end of the play the audience feels for her. The audience feels for all three girls, who were thrown into a life they do not want. Naïve, impressionable and scared are the girls, Joanne less so at the point the audience sees her at but by the end of the play you know that’s exactly where she started – just like Lisa and Amy.
Tessie Orange-Turner played Joanne amazingly. She was the main character, the one with the most dialogue and she performed everything so well. To keep up that much dialogue is hard enough but to keep up that much dialogue on the issue that it was about is incredible. Every word, every movement, every look had purpose and it was gripping, you wanted to hear her talk more, to uncover more secrets and explain why she is the way she is. Joanne is trapped, scared and only doing what she knows, what she’s always known. Is she a victim, or a predator? Both? Lines are blurred when it comes to Joanne’s character and the way she speaks and acts the audience can tell she’s struggling with her role, of who she is, who she wants to be. She’s desperate and alone. Tessie does an incredible job of playing Joanne and shows the complexity of her character so well.
Amy played by Esther-Grace Button is the youngest character in the play and it shows. Button plays her in a childish light that the audience can’t help but wonder how she got to become tied to Joanne. She wants to please Joanne, and Lisa, wants to do everything Joanne tells her to do just to try and prove she isn’t as young as she actually is. Throughout all the dark humour and even darker issues of the play Amy is that bit of light. She needs protecting and yet she keeps trying to impress Joanne, tries to take matters into her own hands at one point.
Last, and certainly not least, is Lisa played by Sarah Hoare. Lisa is, if possible, an even bigger enigma than what Joanne is. A nervous, on edge, quiet girl who seems to be want to be anywhere but where she is with Joanne and Amy. Questions, broken off by Joanne, un-answered questions that Lisa and the audience want desperately to be answered eventually are through Lisa’s sheer determination to know why and how. Lisa seems to come across as the most affected character in the play, even if that may not be true, she’s so clearly broken and scared it’s painful to watch. It’s hard to watch her struggle and question and plead – which Sarah does so well, shows just how much Lisa wants to know why as much as she wants to leave and never hear from Joanne again.
So many questions are raised during this play, some answered, some not. But all in all the play is deeply affective and shocking to the audience. It leaves the audience stunned when it finishes, silently questioning and wondering. It’s a play that will stick with you for a long time.
Written by Brogan Corcoran