Shôn Dale-Jones’s autobiographical show tells the story of his lockdown through texts, WhatsApp group chats and Zoom calls with loved ones.
Like the denizens of Love Island, Shôn Dale-Jones has got a text. Since last spring, he’s also had emails, phone calls and WhatsApp group discussions. Created and performed by Dale-Jones, and presented by National Theatre Wales, Possible tells the story of the past year through these remote digital interactions. And like the reality series, it is also very much a show about love.
Performed directly to camera and streamed live, Possible overcomes some of the limitations of recent streamed work, which can feel like placeholder experiences until reality can safely resume. There is an earnest immediacy to Dale-Jones’s presence. Perfectly judged, unabashedly authentic and vulnerably autobiographical, the show finds moments of deep joy in conditions that are less than ideal.
Aided by John Biddle’s music, which is performed live and, like a warm blanket, envelops and movingly underscores the work, Possible makes the reality of remoteness feel less awful than it has been over the past year. At first I resisted: everybody has their own story of the past year, and we’re still to arrive at the ending. But through the delicate minutiae of the telling, and Dale-Jones’s focus on his loved ones – his mother, his daughter and his wife (co-director and designer Stefanie Mueller) – I found myself thinking of my own loved ones, the strange early lockdown conversations with my mother, the concerned WhatsApp group chats with siblings.
There are some unexpectedly dark turns. But even in the bleakest of times, there are moments of solace: scones are baked, swans take flight and land again, and in what he calls the “slow-motion magic” of the everyday, houses continue to be made into homes. Enjoyed from the remote reality of my own home, Possible feels like an authentic theatrical experience.
Unlike Queen Victoria we were much amused in a gently entertaining way.