Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Djupid, by Jon Atli Jonasson, has been translated from Icelandic to English by Graeme Maley (also director) and is performed here by Liam Brennan. It takes the audience through the prolonged and highly personal moments before the death of a fisherman whose boat has sunk.
The young man is at first the excited and energetic describing his family and life in his small community. We follow his tale through the boarding of the boat and the day-to-day goings on of the crew. We are lead unknowingly into the sudden disaster and subsequent death of all on board until, finally, the protagonist himself prepares to die.
This is a beautifully written play based on true events which took place in Iceland twenty five years ago. It has been translated very successfully by Maley to re-situate the it in a small Scottish sea-side community with a good-natured and pleasant Scots lad as the protagonist. It is both poetic and colloquial; Brennan’s thick accent is littered with slang and sayings particular to the region and yet it retains a lyricism which sweeps the audience along in peaks and troughs. Brennan’s delivery is superb. His change in pace, tone and volume provides a varied delivery which oscillates between innocent happiness, mortal fear, and the bitter resentment of untimely death. There was barely one instant when the audience’s attention was lost.
The unusual choice of set works well: a small office desk with a glass of milk and some biscuits on top, a wooden chair and a bare light bulb. Its disconnection with the described events provides the sort of abstract environment needed to communicate this moment of limbo. The use of the biscuits is a subtle and yet clear use of symbolism which works very well. One music track is used at several points throughout the show which is moving and emotive without slipping into the cliché.
As a one-man, one-act play this show is an excellent example of how powerful and moving a talented actor can be. The literary character of the script is a delight and, in all, this show is not to be missed.