There She Is
- Claire Sawers
- 23 August 2019
This article is from 2019
A huge metaphor for alienation
With whale song drifting through the speakers in a temporary theatre at the top of the Royal Mile, Brazilian actress Gabriela Flarys tackles immigration, language, home and isolationism in this one-woman piece of physical theatre. A bit like Eugene Ionesco's absurdist 1959 play Rhinoceros, using the metaphor of people turning into rhinoceroses to explore the rise of pre-war Fascism, There She Is begins with a beached whale on the London underground.
Flarys presents a surreal, poetic take on British multiculturalism, where languages and accents babble together and people struggle to be understood, much less embraced for their differences. A gentle, piped-in 70s song from bossa nova star Antônio Carlos Jobim, 'Carinhosa' follows Flarys's translation of the word; 'It's like cuddling with words or a gesture'.
Her character is frantically trying to reach 'a better place', with less fear and ignorance and no closed frontiers, and she uses a suitcase of blue props (glow in the dark balls, fishnets, an anorak) to tell her nightmarish tale, with occasional moments of tenderness. A euphoric underwater swimming scene where she ripples on the floor is an oasis of calm in the chaos, but the general vibe is of a hurried, uncaring world, with not enough places to escape to.
PQA Venues, until 26 Aug, 8pm, £10 (£8).