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Review: The Savages of Self Preservation In ‘DNA’

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

In a warped world where all hope for the future is consumed by guilt, what’s more important; one person or everyone?’ 

That was the haunting line that has followed me out of Djanogly Theatre after Wednesday night’s performance of DNA.

A short play documenting the aftermath of an attack of savage bullying by a group of ‘friends’. Eve is gone, presumed dead. A question of morality takes center stage when the rest of the group concoct an elaborate plan under the control of eerily silent Phil, who is willing to destroy others in an attempt at self-preservation.

This performance was my first encounter with the play DNA, so I attended not really knowing what to expect. I was met with an engaging, immersive stage, the use of lights and projectors of which transported you to the desolate minds of the onstage teenagers. Lighting the stage with a deep red cast representing blood foreshadowed the prominent theme of death throughout the play. With a play detailing ordinary teenagers becoming so alienated that they lose track of their own humanity, I felt the stage expressed this well, using drapes, ropes and beanbags to portray the dilapidated minds of the characters.

I particularly enjoyed how this production used space to its advantage. We often saw characters moving between the focused projector lighting at the back of the stage, whose speech prefaced the action in the next scene. The pattern helped the audience know that another distressing revelation had been made and therefore added to the atmosphere of panic.

The portrayal of the teenagers was very entertaining, each actor displaying different reactions to their guilty conscience. Despite being a dark play, the cast were able to break the intensity through their use of sharp wit that had the audience chuckling. The role of Leah expressed this greatly, awkwardly trying to engage a moody and silent Phil through rambling monologues. The cast utilized their faces, eyes darting around the room as if one of us audience members were to report their dark confessions. Eve was expressed particularly well through body language, where the constant shakes, tics and loss of concentration stressed the torture she experienced.

DNA is currently being performed at Lakeside Arts on University Park Campus. Explore the fragmented minds of these troubled teenagers through a journey of savage self-preservation, if you dare.

Roisin Teeling

Nottingham '23

I am a third year English student at UoN who loves reading the different articles Her Campus has to offer! I am happy to be part of a network of women who support and empower each other through our writing.