Francois Sarhan’s Enough Already is a theatrical revolution. In this multi-arts/media revelation, each one of the many art forms employed, down to the last detail, matters decisively. Merging music with language and visuals, Sarhan pushes hard against the boundaries of our artistic assumptions and, in doing so, reveals the enormous potential of theatre.
The musicians of Red Note, one of Scotland’s leading contemporary music ensembles, inhabit the borders of the stage area. Two Foley artists stand in one corner: their job is to create everyday sound effects; the swishing of clothing; the rustle of the pages turned in a magazine; footsteps. Usually added to a film during post-production to enhance the sense of reality, they are overtly performed during this production to enhance the effect of a created reality. This is a clever twist that adds layers of meaning as the production unfolds.
The centre of the stage is a muddle of anglepoise lamps and cluttered shelves, a dowdy sofa and barren clothes rail that collectively constitute the home of the endearing and menacing protagonist, Bobok. Taking up the whole wall behind, is the faded image of a page from the fictitious Professor Glaçon’s imaginary encyclopaedia; a book that takes an obsessive hold of Bobok’s fanatical imagination.
Glaçon’s is a wonderfully whimsical world where one can examine the sound memory of objects and in which the attempt to understand time by listening to the ticking of clocks, is logical. Bobok is determined to make this world a reality and soon exits the theatre (through a side door) and steps into a silent black and white film of fantasy.
As though entering the pages of Glaçon’s encyclopaedia, the image of Bobok strutting down the street appears projected onto the faded backcloth. What follows is a surreal series of events as Bobok tries to create Glaçon’s world, using his encyclopaedia as a manual. The strange, stilted yet straightforward silent-movie sections are interspersed with scenes of Gillian-esque improbable and impossible stop-motion cut-outs, sometimes fast-forwarded with bizarre results. Presented in a dream-like free-association order it resists, as do dreams, any attempt to catch and pin-down a reasonable or logical narrative.
This playing with forms and time and place, creates unexpected juxtapositions that are illogical and startling, but produce great emotional power and poetical reality. The deliberate revealing of what is usually deliberately hidden in producing the film illusion - the musicians performing the atmospheric sound-track (and often non-sequitous voice-overs), the Foley artists performing the (eerily realistic) sound-effects – both creates and destroys the illusion. Sucked in to the performance, then thrown out again, continually confronted with the fact of its artistic construction, mirrored by Bobok’s creationist endeavours, it encourages a critical thinking that Brecht would have admired and applauded.
Collectively, these artists have produced an unforgettable, eye-opening exploration of the art of theatre and its potential, without pretension or hierarchy, but with bags of energy and skill. An astonishing experience.
Runs 12-13th Nov