Edinburgh Fringe 2021
A domestic couple begin the scene by discussing if love exists. Over a patchy period of discourse their relationship is revealed with him feeling a tad put out that she does not feel that love exists. After a short scene, the director rises and leaves the two actors in their rehearsal room. Once they are alone the meaning of their relationship is further revealed as the artifice of the acting gives way to their true feelings for each other which are as mixed up and confused as their characters. By the following morning, the director is back, the scenes are rehearsed once more, ending with a short burst of short excerpts from the original scene.
This has some merit in having tackled an interesting topic with some style. It has chosen a wide interpretation which has had some success in bringing focus and attention onto the idea of that age old Brechtian conundrum – what is truth?
Directed a little oddly, we have a rehearsal room where the director leaves before the actors, the actors stay all night and where it has on stage areas without much artifice. The kitchen is a box and the light switch quite an obvious sticker on a cloth. As we had no establishing scene to set up the rehearsal as idea – which would have spoiled the surprise of the director getting up and leaving – we have to think this is deliberate and would be the end set – or would it be?
It also needed more jeopardy or tension. I was just not feeling the claustrophobic tension between them and whilst their relationship was clearly at a beginning/doomed trajectory/crossroads it just felt that they were acting it and not inhabiting it. Perhaps the time spent onstage made it less well developed.
Both actors have a difficult task in that they are attempting to portray two characters much physically like themselves, but equally different to each other whilst not going mad at the same time. There was just not enough of a difference between their four characters to totally convince. I think this has much to do with a need to have more rehearsal time rather than the abilities on display. At times there was great depth and insight from both, but it really needed to be better connected. For example, the monologue delivered by Emma Tadmor has real qualities.
There were issues set wise and I would have liked less onstage or more use of technical effects such as lighting before the ending which did not come across as an arty piece of alternate creativity but a tad annoying, like a child playing with the lights.
And yet, I liked this quiet a lot. It showed promise and I have to admire the quality of work that may be undercooked but is not far away from getting the recipe right.