City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Current Location, Summerhall, Review

By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 26 August 2015

Current Location - photo courtesy of Tegid Cartwright.
Show Details
FellSwoop Theatre
Bertrand Lesca (director), Ben Osborn (musical director), Jesse Meadows (creative producer), Carrie Rhys Davies (dramaturg), Rachel Margetts (additional music) [adapted from the play by Toshiki Okada].
Charlotte Allan (Eva), Caitlin Ince (Florence), Emma Keavney-Roys (Jayne), Roisin Kelly (Elizabeth), Pia Laborde-Noguez (Hannah).
Running time: 

“As I wait for the dawn to break the memory of a place comes near.”

So sings the female voice choir, rehearsing in the high vaulted hall. But everything is not entirely in harmony; Eva seems to sing the wrong part, out of tune with the others.

It’s a small sign of a wider malady. Elizabeth has seen portents of something terrible, foretold in village prophecies. While climbing the local mountain on a clear, blue-sky day she has witnessed an ominous cloud. It’s something that her partner won’t discuss and the denial threatens to pull them apart. The worry is that no one else will believe her.

People are talking but no one can distinguish rumour from scientific fact, if any. Bird song has decreased, things are out of season, grass ashen or more verdant, bees extinct. Surely their world can’t be obliterated, but then small changes happen everyday - someone dies and their world simply disappears.

Whether the rumours are based on fact doesn’t really matter as they are based on a feeling of danger driven by uncertainty. They are the cement between the fragments that the community uses to make collective sense of an ambiguous situation.

When newcomer Hannah arrives, wet from being caught in a cloudburst, the disquiet only increases as she talks of people saying terrible things or nothing at all. If no one knows the truth what’s the point in even asking?

As they agree to explore their feelings in a play, Jayne is pushed into feeling uncomfortable by being in costume, fearing what people will think of her and of becoming what she appears. Imagining a different world view to cope with disasters they question why they are we putting on a play to discuss what’s going on ?

When what to believe might as well be determined by a coin-toss they feel powerless and so just carry on. Pushing away the source of their anxiety will however manifest itself as something far more sinister.

The play asks whether, faced with events outside our control we can simply walk away and leave time to heal. Just because we don’t know what to believe, the world can’t be destroyed - can it?

It succeeds in generating a feel of unease, of dislocation. Some of the dialogue is directed at the audience, breaking the fourth wall and not allowing the members to be passive viewers of mere entertainment. The original was written as a response to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami which caused a meltdown of reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Freely adapted and moved to its current location it appears to have lost in translation some of the subtleties of culture, movement and language.

If the message of inaction in face of ecological disaster and climate change does ultimately feel preachy it’s only because, like the characters, we feel powerless or are in denial.

Show Dates: 17 to 30 (not 20) August 2015 at 10.30am (12.30pm on 30)

Ticket Prices: £11 (£9). £26 family.

Suitability: 14+