Skip to main content

ANA


Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
4 stars
Six scarlet-clad women line up in coffin-size boxes like life-size 
historical dolls being flogged off at some old-time sideshow. As a 
shabby ringmaster parades them before the audience, he opens the door 
on a complex, criss-crossing trawl through epochal moments of times 
past, as umpteen versions of the same woman split in two at moments of 
crisis. The result, in this unique Scots/Quebecois collaboration 
between the Edinburgh-based Stellar Quines company and Montreal's Imago 
Theatre, is a fascinatingly beguiling magical-realist epic that 
stretches an extended umbilical cord through history.

Joan of Arc, Medea, St Therese, the French revolution, Charles Darwin, 
Jack the Ripper and Sigmund Freud are all in Clare Duffy and Pierre 
Yves Lemieux's bi-lingual script, mixed and matched into life in Serge 
Denoncourt's audacious and vivacious production. Matters of life, 
death, art, science and religion are similarly entwined in a whirlwind 
of time-lagging inter-connectivity that hinges on the basic right of 
liberty through choice. If one Ana's creative potential is strangled at 
birth, another flourishes materially, if not emotionally. For a while, 
anyway.

With a mixed cast of Scots and Quebecois actors split evenly across the 
two nations, there may be different stylistic sensibilities at play, 
but, from Frances Thorburn's infant squeals to Catherine Begin's brutal 
death, there's a prevailing intensity that rips into what exactly the 
rights of Woman are. In some respects, all this is getting back to some 
of the more intellectually and theatrically expansive examples of 
Scottish drama that came out of the 1980s, before naturalism took hold 
in some quarters. If we've come full circle and are tapping into a 
sense of post-modern internationalism as ANA suggests, this is a 
thrilling start.

The Herald, March 5th 2012

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…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …