The Delusion of Home (3 stars)

This article is from 2018

The Delusion of Home

Documentary-style depiction of contemporary life in rural Taiwan

Part documentary, part meta-theatrical meditation on art-making and society, Our Theatre's The Delusion of Home sets out to capture life in the remote, impoverished villages along Taiwan's southwestern coast. A densely layered and immersive multimedia work, monologues from an itinerant homeless man and an oyster farmer are overlaid with lyrical slide projections of crumbling coastal ruins, interviews with Taoist priests and the occasional interjection from the cosmos.

Ambitious doesn't cover the half of it, but The Delusion of Home just about manages to pull it off. Pen-Chieh Yu's performance as the oyster farmer who finds small joys in her family and her dance club, despite life's grinding tedium, is both the play's driving force and beating heart. Unfortunately, prior to their Edinburgh run, Our Theatre reworked The Delusion of Home to pay greater emphasis on the play's allusions to King Lear.

This is a shame, as the homeless man's raving, Lear-esque existential soliloquies are easily the least interesting part of the hour and take up too much of it. Perhaps Our Theatre felt it necessary to help a Western audience connect with a work that is so heavily steeped in Taiwanese cultures and traditions, when in fact the themes at its core – a longing for home, connection and renewal – can be found anywhere.

Summerhall, until 26 Aug (not 20), 3.55pm, £12 (£10).

Taiwan Season: The Delusion of Home

  • 3 stars

Our Theatre From the Chiayi area of southern Taiwan comes this strong and original documentary-style depiction of local contemporary life refracted through one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies. Oyster farming and Taoist funeral rites are as much of a touchstone as King Lear in Our Theatre's character-driven study of…