An ‘expectation-defying solo script … a work that, while not without levity, is a serious structural and dramatic leap into the dark. Osmond proves himself a no-holds-barred performer, putting the naked I under scrutiny enough to leave it thoroughly exposed
A memorably intense show, performed with a heart-shaking level of commitment
I of the needle is written for a solo performer (either a man or a woman).
Trapped by a bewildering array of everyday choices, the character is placed in a sequence of situations where he/she is required to answer questions about him/herself (a job interview, a party, a court room, a medical appointment); ultimately the character unravels completely, unable to move or finish a sentence.
Every day, our personality gets positioned by seemingly minor choices: what newspaper we choose (or do you head online?); what food we order; which bar we enter (or should you be drinking at all?). I of the needle delves into the psyche of a person who is unwilling to commit to any of the options, whilst becoming increasingly desperate to embrace a distinct identity.
Throughout this one-act play, scenes of live action alternate with sections of recorded speech. By the end, the character retreats so far into their internal world that the recorded voice drowns out all else.
Whenever I direct my own scripts, I try to distance myself from the perspective of the writer. I have to re-examine the words on the page with fresh eyes, in order to find new meaning and possibilities within them. (Though an advantage of this doubling-up is that if the director wants to cut a slab of text, he doesn’t need to negotiate with the author.)
The same principle applied here when I performed my own words. Paddy challenged me and teased out new approaches, while I maintained the role of actor in the room, not writer. Much like the character, I needed to be someone who was filled with questions, not someone who felt they had all the answers.