Tron to stage Martin Crimp's The City

Tron to stage Martin Crimp's The City

It is in the nature of cities, capital cities in particular, to juxtapose the trivial with the weighty. As city dwellers we are at once individuals with worries about bus tickets and groceries, and also part of something much bigger – the city itself and all it represents. And if that city is somewhere where laws are made and wars declared, so much the greater is the absurdity that springs from worries about the daily commute mingling with decisions about life and death.

Just such an absurdity is at the heart of Martin Crimp’s latest original work, The City, which Tron artistic director Andy Arnold is bringing to the Tron’s intimate Changing House space this fortnight. The play follows the increasingly surreal confrontations between a dysfunctional couple, their sleep-deprived neighbour and a mysterious child in an unspecified city in a place that feels a lot like a version of modern day Britain with its levels of alienation cranked up to 11.

Arnold is in thrall to the imaginative power of Crimp’s brutal juxtapositions and the bitter sort of wit with which they are thrown together: ‘You’ve got one person talking about major, global things, and the other talking about not being able to find the right meat in the frozen section and having to go to the counter … It just goes from one thing to another. The stories in there are just fascinating - that’s what’s really captivating.’

Against suggestions that Crimp’s work can be somewhat elusive or even overly enigmatic, Arnold is staunchly defensive. ‘There’s a definite story there, there’s a definite relationship between a husband and wife. It’s more about what is not said than what is said, but it’s a fascinating character study, certainly, and totally absorbing.’

Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Fri 19 Feb–Sat 6 Mar

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