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No Time For Art 0+1

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
3 stars
When a microphone is passed out to the audience in the second half of 
Egyptian playwright and director Laila Soloman’s all too personal set 
of testimonies from the frontline of her homeland’s revolution, the 
effect is both moving and powerful. As each reads from a sheet of paper 
demanding justice for named ‘martyrs of the revolution’ killed by one 
form of state oppression or another, the communal litany that gradually 
forms is a very quiet form of solidarity that challenges the oppressors 
even as it bears witness.

The first half that precedes it finds three Egyptian actors – one man, 
two women - sitting on chairs recounting their own knitted together 
experiences without fuss or anger in their native language as English 
subtitles flash up on a screen behind them. An everyday tale of Molotov 
cocktails, incarceration, military brutality and bombs made of tea, 
there is little need for dramatic embellishment in Soliman’s compendium 
of first-hand testimonies from three lives captured beyond the heroic 
newsreel footage flickering behind. This is real enough, as is the fact 
that company composer Mustafa Said was unable to take part in the 
production after being refused a visa.

It is a stark and unflinching form of documentary theatre Soliman 
utilises in this Mayfesto companion piece to A Play, A Pie and A Pint’s 
One Day in Spring season of work by young writers from Arab countries. 
As the title suggests, these first two pieces in an ongoing series 
strip things back to a rough and ready pop-up staging that has little 
truck with flashy artifice, preferring instead to focus on the 
chillingly necessary evocation of the here and now.

The Herald, May 7th 2012

ends




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