Confined Human Condition
- Jonny Ensall
- 23 September 2009
Comprising song, acting, dance and original musical scores, the two compositions that make up Confined Human Condition are both, evidently, Theatre Cryptic, but otherwise make strange bedfellows. The first, ‘Baghdad Monologue’, is an examination of grief and the Iraq war that makes a blandly liberal attempt to strip away Western rhetoric from the reality of death. The second, ‘Terror of Love’, is a lavish production that fetishises death, exploring the sense of immortality that can be achieved by dressing the body up in words. Unfortunately it’s not a clever juxtaposition. The theme of entrapment doesn’t carry and the impact of the first performance fades in the face of contradictory new themes.
In ‘Baghdad Monologue’, Frances M Lynch’s grief as a woman trapped emotionally by the death of her son is seen through the fractured shadows she casts on three translucent screens. The technique works well, though the other elements – Lynch’s highly precise delivery, Alejandro Viñao’s syncopated, electronic score and his script’s Orwellian comments on the misappropriation of language – sacrifice the sense of genuine emotion for the sake of complexity and polemic.
In Phillip Neil Martin’s ‘Terror of Love’, Loré Lixenberg sings to her lover from a tongue-like red bench. Her powerful mezzo-soprano cuts through the theatre space with fiery intensity, heightening the sexual fervour that grips the stage as a beautiful woman (Clare Roderick) slowly disrobes behind a two-way mirror. It’s gothic, Freudian, theoretical, spiritual and a lot more, and though its ideas – based around the inscription of the flesh – aren’t new, they do resonate well, redeeming the production as a whole.
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 17-Sat 19 Sep