Serious theatre exploring isolation and surveillance performed outdoors
This article is from 2014.
Performed outdoors, Teatri Oda of Kosovo's show takes its small audience through a whirlwind 35 minutes of warm hospitality, music and song, fear of surveillance, terror of conflict and prejudice in exile. It is rooted, no doubt, in the experience of Kosovo in late 20th and early 21st centuries, but its themes are, depressingly, universal.
The "invisible walls" of the title are both metaphorical and physical. The show is performed between a series of exhibition stands which are, sometimes, connected by retractable canvases which enclose the audience and performers in a claustrophobic space.
This simple, yet symbolic, device is effective in a piece which is sometimes too literal. However, what the production lacks in dramatic subtlety it compensates for in music, humour and intelligent interaction with the audience.
In moments of celebration (a child beginning his school life) or panic (a military attack seems imminent) we, the audience, find ourselves in the midst of a collective emotion. However, we are, ultimately, individuated again in a bleakly comic reflection on migrants' experience of suspicious and punitive regimes of passport control.
Summerhall, 0131 560 1581, until 12 Aug (not 11), 2pm, £8/£12 (£10/6).