The Ugly One shows 'how utterly warped and bizarre our obsession with homogenous beauty is'

The Ugly One

The Tron's spring season wraps up with the Scottish premiere of Marius von Mayenburg's German play

The Tron's July production – usually humorous and playful – wraps up its spring season with the Scottish premiere of a German play. Following the adventures of an engineer who finds himself 'fixed' into an impossible beauty after plastic surgery, The Ugly One mocks the capitalist preoccupation with beauty as a signifier of worth. Marius von Mayenburg's script juxtaposes broad humour, absurdism and satire to poke at contemporary values.

'I read The Ugly One maybe seven years ago – it was written in 2007 – and I loved the form of it,' says director Debbie Hannan. 'The things I love always have a fairly big imaginative gap for the audience, so there is a lot of work to be done: following how the character has surgery but nothing changes about the actor's face, you are having to play a game of what is happening in your head versus what is being said. To me, that is one of the most interesting things about theatre.'

The play does have a strong vision, she explains. 'It is quite high satire, it is absurdist, but there is a truth to how utterly warped and bizarre our obsession with homogenous beauty is. It takes a thesis and stretches it to its absolute end conclusion.'

Hannan is excited to see how the Scottish cast's sensibility will mesh with the German humour, but she believes The Ugly One has a distinctive flavour that is ideal for Glasgow, with gallows humour, a critique of capitalism and a lively, emotion-filled and restless dynamism.

Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 4–Sat 20 Jul.

The Ugly One

Marius von Mayenburg's comedy about beauty, identity and moving up in the world. Lette is talented but extremely ugly. After deciding to make a change to his face, he discovers that he may just be too beautiful.

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