The Translator's Dilemma
Dark, taut work about industrial negligence
This article is from 2011.
Plays designed to educate the audience about a particular issue often just come off as lectures, so it was clever of new playwright Jessica Philippi, who also takes on most of the burden of performing, to actually set her piece about the appalling legacy of industrial asbestos in a university tutorial. The audience are the class, here to learn about legal translation, and in the opening moments our young stand-in teacher is charmingly inept, fumbling with the overhead projector. Then she realises the lecture she’s covering – with its case study of a wealthy industrialist tried over the asbestos that killed half his workforce – may be too close to home.
Scandal Theatre are a new Glasgow company formed out of the recent IETM theatre conference, and on this evidence, they’re worth watching. The play becomes slightly shrill at times, and though Philippi’s performance, moving from professional to grief-wracked, is very strong, there’s sometimes too much information being thrown out to grasp the finer points of plot. Ultimately, though, it both educates and entertains, passionately, which is the job of any good lecturer.
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