City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Stand, Traverse Theatre, Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 05 June 2015

Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Chris Goode and Company with The Oxford Playhouse
Chris Goode (writer/director), Naomi Dawson (designer), Anna Watson (lighting designer)
Michael Fenton Stevens, Kelda Holmes, Spencer Brown, Gwyneth Strong, Cathy Tyson, Lawrence Werber

The sub-title for ‘Stand’ reads ‘ordinary people changing the world’, an uplifting premise which is, unsurprisingly, never really fulfilled. ‘Stand’ clearly has considerable ambitions, but seventy minutes isn’t quite enough time to achieve them.

Based on transcripted interviews with a variety of the (mainly) socially and politically active, ‘Stand’ presents these without any obvious dramatic mediation. We are presented with some fascinating individual experiences of direct action, but without any linking narrative or over-arching concept that places them in any wider context.

It is, of course, undeniable that much of such activity is not coherent, and has no clear goal beyond the achievement of limited objectives, but this is neither commented on nor critiqued.

In fairness, the focus is, perforce, clearly on the individual experiences presented here, which serve to indicate the variety of motivations and responses possible, but in so doing ‘Stand’ risks appearing a freak-show pandering to bourgeois angst.

One suspects the vast majority of the potential audience will not themselves be activists, and indeed one account is of the mildest of interventions, caused one to question its appearance alongside stories of anti-fracking activism, share-holder protest or even anti-vivisection awareness raising, except perhaps as a reassurance to the audience that even modest actions could count as ‘taking a stand’.

Well, yes, possibly, and it’s also possible that one misses something in looking for what may not be there. Ultimately, however, ‘Stand’ remained, for this reviewer, enigmatic in its purpose and ‘message’ (if any).

Til 6th June