- David Kettle
- 6 August 2019
This article is from 2019
Eight performers meet eight audience members in an intimate reflection on judgement and compassion
Zurich-based Mercimax theatre company were inspired to put together the brief, intimate 8:8 by the decision, approved by Swiss voters, to expel from the country foreign visitors convicted of crimes. It's a deceptively slight work, one whose 25-minute length and miniature resources belie the huge impact of what it addresses.
And with such a short, seemingly simple work, to give too much away about its content would spoil its surprises. Let's just say there are eight performers, eight audience members, a first half that invites judgement, and a second half that invites reconsideration of that judgement. And a reflection afterwards about how you – probably inevitably – formed those judgements, and why you might have reconsidered them.
Bringing together non-professionals from the Edinburgh community alongside international performers, 8:8 playfully interweaves appearance and reality, truth and deception, asking us how much we can truly know about a person from how they appear, what they choose to reveal, and what they might whisper to a confidant. It's confrontational in its own friendly way, and almost as much to do with performers judging the audience members watching them. Underneath it all, though, in the compassion and connection that 8:8 generates, it feels like vital theatre for troubled times.
Summerhall, until 25 August (not 12, 19), times vary, £8.