20th and 26th May 2018
Lydia is ready to move out of her childhood home, but first her bedroom needs a good decluttering. Sifting through relics like battered school books and tiny infant shoes, our lovable scatterbrain recalls memories attached to two decades’ worth of possessions. Which items should stay at her parents’ house? What can be thrown away? And what will carry over to the next chapter of her life?
This one-woman show seems to be a dramatisation of actress Lydia Harman’s own experiences (she shares a name with the character on stage and features personal belongings, such as a sweet photo of her young self with the stuffed dog toy that still sits on her bed). Cocoon covers relatable stories that built the “real adult” Lydia is today: subjects she failed/excelled at in school, the terrible clothes her parents made her wear, and ex-boyfriends (one re-enactment involving a t-shirt and a pillow received the most laughs from me).
Although our presenter addressed the audience as helpers in her task, this aspect felt a little one-sided; we listened more than participated. Cocoon‘s intimate concept could go one step further by utilising audience interaction, for example inviting some of us onto the stage to handle items, or gathering everyone under a blanket fort if space allowed.
At under half an hour long, Cocoon feels as if it could have been extended by around fifteen minutes. I’d have liked to have heard more about Lydia’s life: her relationship with her family and friends, childhood dreams, and a little more on adolescence in general. Lydia Harman acknowledges that Cocoon is “still in its development phase” but she has created a sentimental piece full of comedic quips that’s definitely on the right track.