Beulah Land

Review in Issue 6-2 | Summer 1994

Beulah Land was the result of a collaborative project between Lucy Bailey (Director), Jeremy Herbert (Designer), Claire MacDonald (Writer), and Jeremy Peyton Jones (Composer), looking at their fascination with the northern Arctic wastes, their spiritual associations, and the adventures of exploration that confront life and death.

As an audience you are immediately confronted by a crafted traditional box set dominated by a bed which occupies the full width of the front of the stage. At one end sleeps Vera, the old woman, and at the other Vera as a young child with her sister Eva.

A sailor wrapped up in his explorations of the north appears in the ‘room’ of old Vera and links us with her recollections of ‘playing explorers’ as a young child with her sister which led to the tragedy of Eva’s death from pneumonia. The sailor becomes the narrator for the piece as we experience his death through the visions of Eva, as he is chased by Eva only to lead her to her death, and finally as he leaves old Vera to her eventual death.

The structure of the piece was full of movement, with the performers travelling from one end of the bed to the other, around the imaginary paths opened up by the set, and images of movement left by phosphorescent shadows on the wall. The music, direction and design were sensitive to the deeper meanings of the unfolding atmosphere and Hayley Carmichael excelled as Eva, her physical presence evoking the magic of the imaginary land, the land between life and death, the Beulah land.

Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Apr 1994

This article in the magazine

Issue 6-2
p. 20