City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Tomorrow, Traverse Theatre, Review

By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 14 August 2015

Tomorrow (photo credit Victor Franowski)
Show details
Traverse Theatre
Vanishing Point, in co-production with Brighton Festival, Tramway, Cena Contemporanea.
Running time: 
Matthew Lenton (director), Becky Hope-Palmer (assistant director), Jamie Harrison (designer), Kai Fischer (lighting designer), Mark Melville (music and sound director), Pamela Carter (dramaturg), Jessica Brettle (costume designer).
Elicia Daly, Stephen Docherty, William Ferreira, Jenny Hulse, Samuel Keefe, Peter Kelly, Aleksandra Kuzenkina, Mercy Ojedale.

One day you are young and the next you are old. Age slowly creeps up on us all, unbidden, unnoticed.

For George though, the change is alarmingly immediate. George is a young man, off to the hospital to see his wife Susan and newborn baby Claire when he is accosted by a shuffling old man whom he seeks to help through the snow. It’s an encounter that will render him a shadow of his vibrant youth, a confused geriatric trapped behind a wrinkled, liver-spotted mask.

He finds himself surrounded by elderly residents under the keeping of patient, if patronising staff. His fellow residents, once perhaps beautiful or academic are reduced to being treated as children, playing games and being distracted to keep them out of trouble. As with George, who is still on that journey to the hospital to visit his now long-dead wife. Now he is continually told by the staff that the appointment has been moved to tomorrow, in the knowledge that he will have forgotten by then.

You need a sense of humour to be a carer. It helps the staff to ignore what’s staring them in the face as they question whether they would use Botox, fret over being left on the shelf in their forties, talk of the things that they haven’t got round to doing. As if they have all the time in the world. There is always tomorrow.

Visits from his grown-up daughter only occasionally penetrate the fog that clouds his brain and these moments of lucidity bring pain as he tries to escape this now tortured present.

The production (part of the Made in Scotland showcase) is in the company’s trademark haunting, distinctive visual style, full of surreal dreamlike images, from “surgeons” creating masks to children who play around the elderly characters like echoes of their earlier selves. Dim lighting cut by torch beams allows the audience to see what it might be like to live life in unfocused glimpses. To be disorientated, pushed to the boundary, spectators to the nurses chatting between themselves and killing time with crosswords, forming background noise.

A strange eventful history that forms a powerful reflection on care and the need to be cared for, the power of memory and our inability to live in the moment.

Show Times: 11 to 30 (not 17, 24) August 2015 (times vary)

Ticket Prices: £20 (£15) (£8 U)

Suitability: 12+