Friday, 8 November 2013

Wilful Forgetting

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Three stars
Long before anyone posted selfies on Flickr or Tumblr, or Instagram 
allowed just-snapped camera phone images to be customised to whatever 
sepia-tinted vintage look  is deemed aesthetically pleasing this week, 
memories came in Eastmancolour and Kodachrome, and took a week to be 
developed. So it goes in Donna Rutherford and Martin O'Connor's lo-fi 
multi-media meditation on the past that shapes us, and how the 
narrative of memory comes with gaps.

A mother (Rutherford) is at the kitchen table as the audience enter to 
the comforting smell of baking. Sporting a maternal pinny, she goes 
through the motions of baking a cake as a Country soundtrack plays. 
Behind her, images flash up of other mothers proudly showing off their 
infant children to be immortalised in their now frayed and crumpled 
glory. Inbetween snatches of Rutherford's own out-front monologue, 
voices off reveal a schism down the generations as her son comes to 
terms with his sexuality, leaving the past behind as he goes.

Commissioned by Glasgay!, and lasting just as long as it takes a cake 
to rise, there's something touchingly honest going on here, both in its 
depiction of necessary estrangement and in Rutherford's understated 
delivery. As Rutherford necks another gin inbetween ingredients, the 
pains of a generation bound by traditions not of their own making 
aren't difficult to recognise. In this way, Wilful Forgetting is an 
elegy of sorts, even as Rutherford and O'Connor's text looks forward to 
more complex and possibly more enlightened family affairs. As videos of 
some very current mums and babies at play are shown while Rutherford 
slices her cake, this snapshot of sons, mothers and mothers mothers 
becomes the most loving of purgings.

The Herald, November 8th 2013

ends 

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