Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Roam" (Catchup April 2006)

Statler was the one who spotted this was on and he had to convince me to go, it all sounded a little arty for me. I was wrong.

This is the first play that I've been to that you not only needed a ticket, but also a passport.

The evening started at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh where our passports were checked, and we were asked to identify a tomato (more on that later). A double decker bus took us out to Edinburgh Airport. After we checked in we were treated to performances throughout the airport; from the check-in desks to the departure lounge to the baggage collection.

The core of the performance (play doesn't quite cover the experience) were 2 intertwined stories. The first was that of travellers from various backgrounds and countries and their interaction as you sit in the rather dull environment that is an airport. The second, and more thought provoking, was looking at people trying to flee from an airport after civil disturbances. In a disturbing twist the country that was falling apart was Scotland, and the 'safe havens' people were trying to flee to were Sarajevo, Beirut (particularly ironic given events later this year) and Kigali. The same actors played roles in both tales.

A though provoking and enjoyable mix followed. A particular highlight was when we were heading to the departure lounge but were delayed by an offloading commuter shuttle from London. The quizzical looks on the faces on the suited business people as they walk past a member of cast reciting 'I am the gatekeeper' with mentions of running fingers up and down was a treat. (PS if anyone has the words that were recited I'd love to have them)

The tomato question earlier was explained as the way this word was pronounced in Arabic was used as a way of determining whether the speaker was a Palestinian, and therefore a fair target. Makes you think - doesn't it?

It was a long evening but didn't drag. A unique production in an unusual venue. Grid Iron and National Theatre of Scotland produced an excellent experience. The critics agreed and gave it 3 awards - including Best Theatre Production

1 Heckle

Statler said...

Keep a very close eye for new stuff from Grid Iron - they do mainly site specific works and as a consequence audiences are limited in size. We got a head start on "Roam" by stumbling across info on the show while looking for online flight arrivals, so we were booking before much of the publicity started - and even that early availability was pretty restricted.