Skip to main content

Letters Home

Edinburgh International Book Festival
Four stars
The intimate art of letter writing may have given way to the impersonal
pings of social media over the last decade or so, but this quartet of
short works presented by site-specific maestros Grid Iron in a unique
collaboration with Edinburgh International Book Festival goes some way
to claiming it back. With the audience promenaded between a network of
addresses in and around Charlotte Square, four short stories with
themes of exile and the umbilical link with home are taken off the page
and brought to life in this gentlest of fusions between forms.

In Details, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie charts a long distance email love
affair between a Nigerian woman and her American friend. Christos
Tsiolkas' Eve and Cain brings the Bible's original dysfunctional family
together in a mother and child reunion to end them all. In the first,
Joe Douglas directs Muna Otaru and Rhoda Ofori-Attah through the
womens' painful absence on a double bed on which they email each other.
For the second, Ben Harrison has a fierce Charlene Boyd as Eve squaring
up to Gavin Marshall's Cain on a sand-covered expanse in a piece that
leans towards Greek tragedy in its classical formality.

Beyond theatre, film maker Alice Nelson renders Kamila Shamsie's War
Letters as an exquisite four-screen installation that moves between
nations charting the Indian experience of the First World War. Michael
John McCarthy has the audience buckle up for a flight from Jamaica for
a sonic rendering of Kei Miller's England In A Pink Blouse. Here we see
a young man's flight from home liberating him in a way that allows him
to be exactly who is beyond his roots.

Accompanied by low key scores by Philip Pinsky, and, in War Letters,
Zoe Irvine, all four pieces are rendered exquisitely. It is Zinnie
Harris' final postscript to the show, however, which moves the most, as
the audience is allowed to eavesdrop in on the cast's post-show state
of mind. There's something touching about seeing and hearing such
personal bon mots spoken out loud in a show that shows off Grid Iron at
their finest.
Until August 25

The Herald, August 14th 2014


ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…