Skip to main content

As It Is

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
4 stars
On a bare stage seated beneath striplights, actor Damir Todorovic is wired up to a lie detector. Sitting opposite him is fellow performer Pauline Goldsmith, who wields a pen over the graph paper that charts Todorovic's responses to the questions she asks him about events preserved in a twenty-year old diary. The needles that judder into life with each response are subsequently beamed onto a large screen behind the pair, allowing the audience to scrutinise the possible fictions of their exchange. Serbian by birth, and well known to Scottish audiences from his appearances in several of Vanishing Point's large-scale works, Todorovic has already told us he was a soldier in the 1993 Balkan War, and wants to see if it's possible to live without lies.

Whether his line of inquiry succeeds or not depends on whether you believe some of the uncomfortable details which Goldsmith's interrogation throws up in what initially looks more like a psychological experiment than a piece of theatre. As Goldsmith's gimlet-eyed and increasingly stern line of questioning pushes Todorovic to account for actions which may or may not have happened, in the deathly quiet auditorium, it's no surprise that all eyes are on the screen as we await a simple yes or no.

Commissioned by the Belluard Bollwerk International Festival and presented in this English language version at the Tron by Vanishing Point as part of Mayfesto, Todorovic has created a tense, intense, discomforting and fascinating hour. In the end, whatever the truth of it, as it condenses drama down to the most basic conflict, it transcends the roots of Todorovic's story to make for a relentless and riveting experience.

The Herald, May 16th 2013

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…