Review: 'Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons'
By: Kira Kim
As someone who was unaware of the original play (I’d only read a brief synopsis prior to watching the show), Lemons was a pleasant surprise. It was both brilliantly acted and, on the whole, a cleverly rendered piece which explored the complex theme of communication.
Performed at Sandy’s Bar, the setting was minimal in terms of props, lighting, and music, but this helped the audience focus their attention on the two protagonists throughout the performance. The setting of the play was a long corridor, which enclosed the performance space and amplified the volume of the characters’ voices.
The play consisted of a series of dialogues: these were knitted together meticulously and were remarkably well directed. As an audience, we witnessed a couple undergoing changes in their relationship as the ‘Quietude Bill’ came into force. This bill only allowed people to speak up to 140 words per day. At the beginning of the play, the couple grew alienated as they started to live separate lives, and they spoke very little to one another. This distancing was especially well acted, and was depicted by the couple who stood far apart from each other on the stage. The resulting empty space was filled by words which flew across the stage onto the floor in between the couple. Conversations became a play of words, but what they said failed to reveal their true feelings. Despite the couple’s humorous evasiveness, there was plenty for the audience to contemplate: a once fruitful language became wasted, and only empty words remained.
We can take for granted the privilege of speech but, if we lock our thoughts within, whether they are our opinions or emotions, we can miss the opportunity of saying how we really feel to the people that mean the most. The passing of the bill is a significant moment for the couple, as they realise that being truthful to one another, rather than confining their thoughts to never be told, allows their true feelings to unfold, and for things to be spoken which have never before been said.
The scenes depicting the aftermath of this revelation show the couple starting to care more about the conservation of words, and whether the 140 words they can speak per day are actually meaningful. The couple circumvent this regulation by shortening sentences or abbreviating words. From this moment onwards in the play, therefore, every word started to be used with a purpose, meaning and, most importantly, an accuracy which pertained to their true thoughts. Yet, ironically, the restriction also resulted in the production of wasteful gibberish, but which was meaningful in its context, such as the play’s title, Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons.
In conclusion, the show portrays a couple as a reflection of us. It reveals how we ought to be more economical and, ultimately, more meaningful, in the way we communicate with each other, but without such a law to have to show us why that should be so. Instead, we can cherish the privilege of being able to communicate freely with others. Overall, Lemons was superbly delivered by the actors who made the show utterly brilliant to watch.