City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Night Time

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 10 August 2007

Show details
Traverse Theatre Company
Running time: 
Lorne Capmbell (director) Selma Dimitijevic (writer), Phillip Pinsky (composer) Jon Bauser (designer), Jon Clark (lighting designer), |Ros Steen (voice coach)
kananu Kirimi (Chris), John Kazak (Frank), David Ireland (Thomas), Benny Young (Bowman)

A woman enters a room in an apartment. She's clearly
perturbed, but Frank (John Kazak) tries to calm her anxieties. We're not
exactly sure why she can't go home, or why she's pitched up in the home of a

Chris (Kananu Kirimi) is not exactly a stranger to Frank, however, as
he clumsily explains how he has observed her through his window, cleaning blood
from her hands in the kitchen opposite his own. Theirs is a fragile and friable
encounter, for Chris is clearly seeking at least temporary escape, while Frank,
alone, lonely and in his own ways vulnerable, has needs and thus desires Chris
cannot meet.

'Night Time' asks several big questions about the nature of
abuse, about those who are victims and the ways they can be victimised, about
how we communicate need and desire and what vulnerability can feel like.

The play carries out this interrogation of those parts of the life of the mind
through Chris' encounters with the overly-apologetic and deeply anxious Frank,
with big-hearted, laddish Thomas (David Ireland) and her return to confront her
abusive and suspicious husband (Benny Young).

Our emotional lives often remain
conundrums encasing their own enigmas, and even the most deeply flawed
relationship can still form a carapace against the outrageousness of the world,
beneath which two individuals struggle to maintain the fiction they are as one.
Nothing is quite as complex as the poetry and politics of our
daily lives, and Selma Dimitrijevic's play confronts complexity head on, inviting
us to consider the hell which may be other people.

Between scenes, Chris performs a chorus pointing up the
small rituals designed to assure others that our lives are as perfect as we
wish them to be, that no stones skim across the surface of our calm and any
inner pain we feel is merely the price of minor over-indulgence.

Dimitrijevic's text is spare in its truthfulness and sharp
in its observation of the ways we use language as weapon and defence. Although
Chris's situation renders her vulnerable to the men she meets, she uses
language to protect herself and to create distance between the realities in
which she finds herself and how she wants things to be. It is only when she is
finally able to confront her abusing husband that Chris is able to truly identify
who she is and what she really wants.

Dimitrijevic makes her audience work hard
to reach this point, which it has to be pointed out is no new position;
nevertheless, the work is excellent if not always comfortable, and the downbeat end well-judged.

Times: various (see Fringe and Traverse programmes), 2-26 August (not Mondays)

Copyright Bill Dunlop, published on 2007