Celebration, Florida

If you’ve ever doubted actors deserve their salaries, let me draw your attention to Katherine Hollinson and Gloria Sanders who starred at the Albany in Greg Wohead’s latest play Celebration, Florida, an exploration of surrogacy and the nature of reality which has particular resonance in a post-truth world. Neither had met, seen a script or rehearsed before taking to the stage in front of an audience. And neither knew what would happen next because they were instructed what to do through headphones. Yet their portrayal of their characters – both alter egos of Wohead – were faultless as they tweaked repeating themes, mimed in slo-mo and sang along to one of the play’s many motifs, the 1961 Ben E King classic Stand By Me. Another repeating motif was a promotional video for the town of Celebration, a Stepford-like real community in Florida created by the Disney corporation – a scary symbol for modern life in which reality is questionable, truth is relative and individuality is anathema. It was an unsettling, cleverly constructed message – but it owed its power in no small measure to the skill of Hollinson and Sanders.


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