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Deliverance

Brite Theater at Your House

Three stars  

Another Friday night in, and what to do? Such has been the wall-climbing dilemma for those craving life beyond their front door since Covid forced them into solitary confinement more than seven months ago. For the next Tier 3 imposed while, at least, audiences in Edinburgh and Glasgow can put out the welcome mat for this exercise in intimacy created by director Kolbrún Björt Sigfúsdóttir and her Leith-based Brite Theater company.

 

It begins with a hand-delivered package containing a zine-like set of instructions designed to guide you through a series of everyday rituals normally taken for granted. Nudged along an experience of your own making, this suggests assorted sense memories, personal soundtracks and other oblique strategies of survival for the self-isolation age. Out of this comes a gentle form of self-reflection. Depending on how you as both audience member and sole performer respond, there is also the possibility, at least, for celebration. 

 

Dreamt up by Sigfúsdóttir and assorted company associates as a Happening for one, Deliverance becomes a role-playing meditation on the relationship between the public, private and secret self, and the performative nature of each. Only a fleeting lurch into amateur psychology distracts from this central conceit.

 

As with the ongoing avalanche of digital activity plugging the empty chasm where live events used to happen, no-one is pretending this is any kind of replacement. Brite Theater and their producers at Vanishing Point theatre company understand this most of all. As an alternative to Netflix, etc, however, Deliverance is a potentially enlightening way to pass the time. 

 

As the sort of thing that used to entice curious audiences into cramped spaces where they could feel their own breath, it also taps into a desire to participate in something rather than remain passive spectators. If Deliverance works best when left to your own devices, what you take away from it behind closed doors is equally your own affair.


The Herald, November 2nd 2020

 

ends

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