Destiny is a monologue performance that illustrates the dismal story of an abused teenager from a council estate in rural Wiltshire. Performed and written by Florence Espeut-Nickless, the vulnerable life of a strong, hopeful and yet neglected teenage girl, Destiny, is brought to life in the downstairs theatre of Pleasance Theatre. Destiny's dream is to be an MTV Base backing dancer - her sheer strength and wit amaze the audience throughout the curves and turns of her grim journey.
Bright neon floor lights and thin layers of smoke welcomes the incoming watchers prior to the show, creating a semi-rural, eerie, yet oddly upbeat background. Upon the commencement of Destiny, with Destiny’s big incident on a night out (which ultimately triggers a series of impending troubles), the changing intensity and colour of the beaming lights aptly highlight Destiny’s transition from a careless girl to a defenceless victim. As the narrative oscillates between the hopeful times when Destiny feels ‘alive’ and the suffering that continually follow her brief moments of happiness, the carefully controlled lightings stress the endless fall of the teenager, who desperately tries to navigate her neglected life through exploitative men and the brutal society that failed to rescue the young girl.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the show was Destiny’s unbreakable determination to become an MTV dancer. Her unwavering dream stood in odd contrast to the dark hours of her life, much like the glaring artificial lights on the floor that paradoxically gleamed against the dark atmosphere of the theatre. Destiny searches for optimism in what seemed like a barren land for hope, and she dreams of a brighter future through the hazy anxieties of life. Destiny’s natural sense of humour, coupled with her almost pitiful hope for something better to come, causes the observers to make a heartfelt wish for the teenager to escape her agonising past and upbringing that repeatedly drags her back into further anguish.
Throughout the entire production, I could not help but hope that Destiny takes a step in the right direction - despite the ominous changing lights that foreshadow another impending fall. When Destiny dreams of a better fate with two other newly-met friends, just before the performance ends in utter darkness, the audience is left wondering about her future. Will Destiny finally escape the confines of her past, or will the wheel of fortune turn against her once again? Is she, as her name suggests, destined for eternal suffering, or will her new friendships function as a new source of empowerment for a better future? As the lights go off with an ostensibly hopeful ending, the audience is momentarily left to ponder upon the remaining life of Destiny.
Destiny was an excellent performance that made the audience pause and think hard about the countless young Destinys struggling through neglect and poverty. Being a megaphone for the helpless youths in desperate need of attention and help from our society, this is a must-watch for those interested in stories of youth and social justice.