La Maladie de la Mort d'Après Marguerite Duras
- Clare McVay
- 9 August 2017
This article is from 2017
Surreal re-enactment / reading of a rather confusing novel
La Maladie de la Mort adapts the novel written by French literary superstar Marguerite Duras. Each day for several weeks, a man pays a woman to wait for him in a hotel room by the sea, so that he may learn how to love. Soon she diagnoses him with the titular 'malady of death', stating he is incapable of love.
The novel is undoubtedly filled with symbolism: the mysterious feminine form juxtaposed against the vast empty sea. But whatever important messages Duras was trying to communicate, this piece provides little elucidation. Performances are in French or English, depending on the day, but both follow the author's obscure language (it's worth noting that while writing Duras drank six to seven litres of wine each day).
The performance is visually striking: a woman in a white silk dress emerges stonily from the darkness speaking of silent tensions. Similarly, the hanging of plastic sheets at different depths on stage distorts the lighting and projections to lend the performance an ethereal feel. But a clear interpretation or explanation of the text is not communicated to the audience. One actor reads from the novel, while the other, the woman, frequently disrobes and floats about the stage. Beautiful but baffling.
La Maladie de la Mort, Institut français d'Ecosse, until 28 Aug (not 14 & 15, 22), 6.30pm, £10 (£8).