Camden People’s Theatre, Isa’s Light

Review in Issue 8-1 | Spring 1996

November 1918. Three sisters meet at a remote lighthouse, the first time they have been reunited since the outbreak of war. Aunt Isa, their father’s enigmatic sister who kept the light for over 30 years, has died. Inheritors of her estate, the siblings believe themselves to be alone on Owe Rock. But Isa and the lighthouse had a secret.

With this seasonal ghost story, CPT aimed not only to apply the atmospherics but also to explore the role of women in our society earlier this century. The Great War precipitated massive social upheaval, not least because of the absence of men on the home front which necessitated for the first time the employment of women in exclusively male industries. In Isa’s Light three situations of womanhood are contrasted; one sister has sought egress through marriage, another has decided to educate herself and attended university, whilst the third has taken over the running of the family business. As the sisters recount their experiences, childhood jealousies and disputes re-surface. It was perhaps ill-advised to attempt to examine such expansive issues in so short a piece. Inevitably the analysis was superficial and unsatisfactory, the feminist theme riding uneasily on the back of the ghost story. The piece worked far more convincingly as a psychological drama, the supernatural context heightening the tensions between the sisters. The portrayal of the complexities of their relationship was especially accomplished, filmic use of song and flashback being used to good effect. The evocation of setting was also adroit and achieved with admirable economy of means. As the piece evolves, its strengths will hopefully crystallise at the expense of its weaknesses.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 1996

This article in the magazine

Issue 8-1
p. 22