Adapted from a novel by Kim Kyung-wook, Spray is a delightfully surrealistic tale of exhaustion, urban living, petty thievery and cats.
Directed by Park Cheong-euy, the primary coloured staging employs the use of multiple screens and fast-moving video projections by Bae Yun-kyung to create a montage of scenes from the overworked protagonist’s life.
An unnamed man works long hours selling shoes to the hoity-toity customers of Seoul. His ability to function at work is impeded by insomnia induced by a neighbour who clicker-clatters into the building at 5am each day in her high heels. All the time she is out, her beloved ‘baby’ of a cat wails into the night.
The best parts of the production centre on a number of dream sequences or flashbacks relating to the man’s life-long problem with clammy hands. His father’s disembodied voice barks out at random intervals, while memories of a first, and only, girlfriend – who left him after they held hands for the first time – replay in stilted slow motion.
The pace slows towards the end, but the stark contrast between the original comedic tone and the truly dark ending is excellently discombobulating. At the centre of this satire is a meditation on loneliness.