Sunday, 8 September 2013

Embers

Kings Theatre
four stars
When Samuel Beckett's second radio play was aired in 1959, notions of 
conceptual art and installations were in their relative infancy. Yet, 
as Pan Pan Theatre's sonic and visual interpretation makes clear, this 
is exactly what Beckett was doing in a work which literally gets inside 
a man's mind. Onstage, strings of little speakers hang down, 
surrounding a shrouded structure which looks not unlike a giant 
bird-cage after dark. Once unveiled, this is revealed as a giant skull, 
from inside which two actors rake over the ashes of one man's past.

As an opening piano overture melds into the sounds of the sea and the 
dense interior monologue which emerges from it, Gavin Quinn's 
production presents  theatre as art installation. At its centre is 
Andrew Clancy's skull sculpture, across which Aedin Cosgrove's complex 
lighting patterns rise and fall, offering tantalising glimpses of 
actors Andrew Bennett and Aine Ni Mhuiri inside the skull.

As Bennett's Henry recounts the death of his father, a thumbnail 
portrait of a man who literally lives inside his own head tumbles out 
in a rush of words that suggests that Beckett's early brushes with 
sound art might just have found their time.

The Herald, August 2013

ends

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