Friday, August 23, 2013

Black & White

Meetings all morning followed by two shows: Claire Cunningham / National Theatre of Scotland’s Menage a Trois – a dance piece about disability and love, rather slow and with superfluous graphics; and Gandini Juggling’s Smashed – a homage to Pina Bausch, featuring nine jugglers, a great many apples and some crockery. Tongue-in-cheek it may have been, but after a fun first 20 minutes it became rather purile, bordering on sexist. I don’t think Bausch would have appreciated it. 
In between the two I experienced Gregor Schneider's Susser Duft (Sweet Scent), an art installation in the basement of Summerhall (which, in my opinion, was the venue this festival). A guard with a walky-talky opens a big white door and in you go. You are in a totally white corridor. There's a door on the left. You open it and there's another totally white room, even the floor. You come out and walk to the end of the corridor, open the door and enter a small, dark, metallic room full of ten naked black men. They look away from you and you cautiously walk through them. And that's it. Two minutes max. Very weird, uncomfortable experience and yet there is an urge to laugh as you exit into the sunny cafe, despite the unfunny subject matter - a comment on slavery and racism
It’s nearing the end of the week and I’m kind of longing for a straight-forward play on a stage, no projections, graphics, other effects, just a few decent actors and a really good story. Stoppard, Ayckbourn, Hare, even Ibsen godforbid. 

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