Theatre in Wales

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Haunting, Moving and Utterly Original

Theatre of Scotland

Interiors- Vanishing Point/ Napoli Teatro Festival Italia , Aberystwyth Arts Centre , October 17, 2010
Theatre of Scotland by Interiors- Vanishing Point/ Napoli Teatro Festival Italia When the dead and the living meet on stage it does not necessarily have to be “Hamlet” or “the Turn of the Screw”. Thornton Wilder peopled the third act of his “Our Town” with shadows. A similar tone of elegy and compassion permeates Vanishing Point’s totally original production. The adjective “unmissable” is now thrown about somewhat slackly. But when the Guardian’s Scots critic handed out five stars in April last year you can see what he meant.

Director Matthew Lenton’s conception is inspired by the 1895 play “Interior” of Symbolist playwright and later Nobel prize-winner Maurice Maeterlinck. Maeterlinck’s two watcher characters have been merged into a single wintry observer. The family has mutated into a host, a grand-daughter and five guests at an annual dinner party. The setting is the longest night of the year. A winter wind blows in an unspecified Northern land. The guests hand in pistols and rifles on arrival along with their hats and coats.

The disorientating setting contrasts with the meticulously observed behaviour. Jittery private actions merge with practised social interaction. Perfume is nervously applied. A surreptitious glance is made in a mirror at a new hairstyle. A guest goes in search of the source of a reeking armpit. Inner thoughts overlay social chatter. The script, a company joint effort, takes on the most intense of human experiences, ailing memory, joy, sensuousness, dismay, a heart broken.

The production’s visual distinction has been well heralded in the publicity. Its flavour can be tasted on the company site. What cannot be seen is the total effect, the way sound, vision and action work together. Theatre is at its acme when language underpins a choreography of movement. Quite how the language is used is best not revealed as the production is still very much alive. After France it has Spain as a future venue. Suffice to say that the language scintillates.

The cast list does not identify actor by character. The cast of eight are Elspeth Brodie, Sara Lazzaro, Andrew Melville, Aurora Peres, Davide Pini Carenzi, Barnaby Power, Ann Scott-Jones, and Damir Todorovic.
Other credits are lighting design Kai Fischer, projection design Finn Ross, sound design Alasdair Macrae and costume Eve Lambert.
The Watermill and the Globe, Kneehigh and Propeller. Now Vanishing Point with a single Welsh date. Blessed be the stewards of Aberystwyth’s Arts Centre and blessed the powers-that-be that look down upon them.

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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