Michelle Douglas in Fear and Doubt, in Couplet. Picture: Supplied
The last time I heard of rhyming couplets was in high-school English. While I can spot one in a rap verse or a line of poetry or even in a book, I cannot construct such sentences to save my life. 

You can imagine my intrigue when I heard of a theatre production whose dialogue is based entirely on rhyming couplets.

The production, Couplet, is currently on at the Auto and General Theatre on the Square in Sandton and was written by Michelle Douglas. It is about 90 minutes long and performed by Douglas and Julie-Anne McDowell.

It weaves a tale of two hapless thoughts, Fear and Doubt, who have been left out in the cold after being evicted from the mind of a happy human.

Reflections on 'Evita'

They stand in the cold, while recounting some of their best adventures, while systematically destroying their host human.

It’s the anthropomorphisation of thoughts; they narrate these experiences and you get to go through the sense of pride at the destruction that they caused.

The music creates a fitting atmosphere to the tale that’s being told.

Fear and Doubt, in Couplet. Picture: Supplied

The play also goes through the themes of acceptance, honesty, trustworthiness and also discrimination, in an emotionally charged manner.

There are also some other mediums that are used in the production - puppetry also comes into the play, with some of the tales being narrated through the use of puppets. The wardrobe features two giant ( almost twice the size of the human head) masks for Fear and Doubt.

These masks wear grim expressions and are just plain ugly - a fitting way to describe what the two thoughts would look like if they were to come to life.

The thoughts also sit shivering, covered only in tattered blankets, while they tell their story.

Michelle Douglas and Julie-Anne McDowell play the characters Fear and Doubt, in Couplet. Picture: Supplied

The usage of the rhyming couplets themselves in the production aren’t as overwhelming as one would expect it to be - in fact, it becomes quite negligible while you watch the production.

Douglas and McDowell are a pleasure to watch as they tell these very dark tales for tall children. The clever usage of props, by way of two tall stools for the emotions and three “treasure chests” where the stories literally come from, also allows them to tell the story sufficiently.

All in all, while it may take a short while to get into the story, as it does not merely happen before your eyes but requires your participation as an audience member, watching Couplet makes for an enjoyable night out.

* Couplet is on at the Auto and General Theatre until October 28.

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