Edinburgh Fringe 2013
"Come in. Settle down. Close your eyes and listen. Let the music caress you (inside a 40ft shipping container). Create your own virtual story or fantasy, return to the essence of listening in a delightful 15 minutes. Originally commissioned for MIF11’s Music Boxes, Daydream drives the imagination. Together with Ruimtevaarders’ designer duo, composer Dominique Pauwels and the Gent production house LOD, Inne Goris creates a place of calm where the outside world is only a hum in the distance. One ticket is valid for any 15 minute performance per day. Entry limited at each performance."
There comes a point, right about now, when your average reviewer (and on a good day I really am pretty average) has had about enough of performers. Peskily, persistently they stop you in the street, email, tweet, send personal messages on Facebook day and night or suddenly emerge unexpectedly from under a pile of kimonos at the Auld Reekie Sauna. Anything to get you to critique their 1 man show about plague victims living in the shadow of a volcano full of sweatshops. And then, when you have the nerve to point out that in it’s 7 and a half year run the show has started to lose its edge, they freak out and suddenly you’re sending briefcases filled with used banknotes to a warehouse in Leith in the faint hope of seeing your pets or near-relations again. Why can’t there be shows without performers?
Enter installation art. All the creativity without the creatives.
Day Dream by Belgian duo Inne Goris and Dominique Pauwels is a godsend. I am led firmly by the hand through the Summerhall courtyard. “You have to see this,” insists one of the several press office Miriams, “this will make it better.” She leads me to one end of a large blue shipping container and into the care of a curator. My two companions and I are asked to remove our shoes. This I can do easily (even without a seat) but one of us is on crutches and is putting a brave face on her obvious discomfort. We pass through a blue entry bay and enter a space dominated by a large day bed suspended from the ceiling, covered by a tent like set up which might have been familiar to Livingstone or Stanley.
We climb in and onto a deliciously soft, inviting mattress (is it memory foam?) covered in a white blanket. The canvas is a light gauze through which the sudden darkness rushes in. We lie down and it is at this point that I knock my companion’s foot conclusively demonstrating that she really wasn’t bluffing to the curator about it being sore.
A surround sound system is deployed along with a burst of navy blue solid lights beyond the canvas. I am transported into a distant wilderness. Civilization extends no further than my tent. The noise of the bush blends with vocals and mechanical sounds rushing pell mell, swirling inches from my head. All the gin and all the tonic consumed in the past fortnight has not held malaria at bay. The fever is breaking and my mind is raging. The colours charge across the spectrum like a great buffalo migration. I am being deafened by light. Now I am scared. My fear rises until at last daybreak in the east – there is a happy terrestrial sympathy in the orientation of the blue shipping container.
Daydream is an inventive, imaginative and deeply fulfilling way to pass the time. A great piece of conceptual content is, however, in need of better bookending. The start is awkward and so is the end. Is it over? Uncertainty we emerge out into a chalkboard on three sides where previous travellers have made their mark. At first we were only three, now we are part of a much larger audience.
Daydream confirms everything you’ve heard about Summerhall’s becoming the true centre of the fringe theatre at the Fringe. This installation is the shadow over the eye of the storm which blows through this city for three weeks each August. I’ve always had a soft spot for roller coasters and Daydream is why.