Libby’s Eyes by Amy Bethan Evans (as part of Breaking Out)
Mondays and Thursdays at 19:00 until 7th July
Runs 1 hr, no interval
Veronica Stein, 16th June, 2018
For some of us, an unusual view of the future.
In a not so distant future, Libby, a young blind woman, is deemed potentially ‘functional’-as opposed to ‘non-functional’- by the government. To truly be the latter, Libby is required to make use of an AI device, called ‘Libby’s Eyes’, to yield her as independent as possible. As expected, this technology does not prove a cure-all and Libby is left with some difficult choices to make- and so is the audience and society at large.
Libby’s Eyes is short, sweet, and largely effective in its messaging. Louise Kempton as the ever peppy audio describer presents exactly how to utilize ADs as storytelling elements in their own right, while painting Libby as the ‘inspirational’ heroine that is so often written into stories of functionality and ableism. Georgie Morrell, in contrast to this archetype, presents a woman who is ballsy but shirks this nomenclature. Her chemistry with Barry McStay as earnest coworker Vin helps to round out the personal atmosphere of the piece largely created by Holly Joyce (whose closing monologue is deeply poignant) and Adam Elms as her parents. Ariane Gray, as the voice and personification of Libby’s Eyes, manages to be both robotic and understanding.
Amy Beth Evans’s script is the star of the evening, however the end could do with some tightening and maintenance of the pace. Despite the seeming heaviness of the subject matter, Libby’s Eyes is highly watchable and includes several belly laughs. Evans has raised many significant points regarding the larger conversation around PIP and how administrations interact with differently abled citizens- it’s worth a watch for that alone aside from the remarkable ensemble.
Libby: Georgie Morrell
Ali: Holly Joyce
Ron: Adam Elms
AD: Louise Kempton
Vin: Barry McStay
LE: Ariane Gray
Director:Spencer Charles Noll
Assistant Director: Hugh Wyld