The Silence & the Noise by Tom Powell
The Silence and The Noise is the latest creation by Rural Media and Pentabus, written by Tom Powell and directed by Rachel Lambert and Elle While. This digital production is a beautiful example of how film and theatre can successfully blend: on one side this play is entirely filmed on location, there is no theatre, no stage, and no audience in sight; on the other side there are no fancy special effects, no flashbacks, no elaborate camera moves and most of the plot is brought to life through the dialogue between the two main (and only) characters.
This play tells the story of Ben (William Robinson) and Daize (Rachelle Diedericks), two teenagers dealing with the impact of drugs from opposite sides: Ben is a drug runner, working for a shady off-screen drug baron called Beetle; Daize is the daughter of a drug addict that experiences first hand the destructive impact of drugs on loved ones. In the opening scene we find Daize threatening to harm Ben to keep him (and Beetle) away from her house and her mum: Daize appears strong, confident, very protective, while Ben seems to be very cocky, self-assured, arrogant, and proud of working for Beetle. However, we quickly understand that this is just a façade, a way to survive a life that is tough and hurtful: Daize is constantly scarred for her mum, obliged to eat cat food just to not starve and to sleep outside just to have some time out from a life that is by far not perfect. Ben is naïve and trapped in a life that he does not really want: he tries to convince Daize (and himself) that he chose to work for Beetle, that he does it for the money, that he does not create new addicts, he just provides a service to people already using drugs. It is however clear that he would like to leave Beetle, but he is too scared to do it and that Beetle is using him, keeping Ben’s share of the money for “safekeeping”.
Without revealing too much, their love/hate relationship evolves over the course of a few weeks – we learn more about Ben’s and Daize’s families, hopes, mistakes, and problems. And do not expect a Disney-style happy ending, as this play deals with real-life issues, nothing is ever black and white, but at best shades of grey.
It is a beautifully told story of drugs, friendship, hope, growing up, and facing the world; one moment I found myself laughing at some brilliant and memorable putdowns, and the next moment on the edge of tears. It is an emotional roller coaster that makes the viewer side now with one character, now with the other, and in the end rooting for both, wishing them a better adulthood.
The play is also aided by the strong performance of both Diedericks and Robinson; helped by some striking dialogue, they manage to capture the attention of the viewer for the full hour and convey the internal turmoil of the two characters. Overall, I really enjoyed the production, I hope one day it will be developed into a longer, two acts play, giving a bit more time to explore the characters and their story in a bit more depth.
Review by Fabio Ghiotto
Ben and Daize are teenagers either side of a county line. Drug runner and daughter of an addict. As the adult world around them becomes deadly dangerous, do these natural enemies have it in them to save each other?
The film tells an urgent, relevant story with warmth and humour, speaking to audiences about deprivation, love, betrayal and hope.
A creative exploration of filming a play, discovering where film and theatre meet, by industry-leading rural arts companies Pentabus and Rural Media.
The Silence & the Noise
by Tom Powell
Staring Rachelle Diedericks and William Robinson
Available online to watch for free from 20 April – 31 May 2023.
Trigger Warnings: Strong language, with some references to violence, drug use and domestic abuse.
Suitable for ages: 15+