Villa Design Group: The House of Adelaida Ivanovna
Postmodern European theatre/installation staged in a shopping mall, part of Edinburgh Art Festival
This article is from 2014.
The vast top-floor warehouse space of Ocean Terminal's Logan's Run-style shopping mall is a gloriously incongruous venue for the Hamburg/London-based Villa Design Group to house its epic reimagining of Gogol's play, The Gamblers. While the array of clean-lined screens and curious cabinets flanking the large stage that simulates Yves Saint Laurent's faux Russian dacha remain in situ throughout the day, this third part of Than Hussein Clark, James Connick and William Joys' Gogol-inspired dissection of architecture and morality blossoms into full dramatic life for a two-hour performance of the play in the evening.
Here Laura Schuller's Adelaida holds court to a crooked conference of interior designers brought together to discuss the building of a new library to house Gogol's archive. As she bursts through a wooden construction that is part state-of-art coffin, part dressing-up box, her connivances are partly hidden from view, requiring the audience to follow the action around the set as a movie camera might pan its way to its conclusion.
Visually-led post-modern European theatre of this scale is nothing new in Edinburgh in August. Seen in a visual art context with a big-windowed view of Edinburgh's own architectural reinventions, however, it becomes a chicly audacious statement on form, function and how a space's narrative can be shaped.
Ocean Terminal, exhibition until 31 Aug; performances Thu--Sat, 7pm, free. Contact via email to book tickets.