Matthew Lenton and Vanishing Point further explore the themes of 2009's Interiors
In 2009, one play dominated the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland. Picking up the gongs for best director, ensemble and production, Interiors by Glasgow’s Vanishing Point was a performance of startling originality. Inspired by a play by Maurice Maeterlinck, it took place behind the window of some northerly house on a bitterly cold night and turned the audience into voyeurs peering through the glass at a stranger’s dinner party.
Audiences loved it as much as critics, but for director Matthew Lenton, it wasn’t the end of the story. As he saw it, the technique was not just a novelty but a fascinating way of exploring other people’s lives. There was still more mileage in the idea, which is why he is back in similar territory with Saturday Night. ‘In Interiors we found something that I wasn’t completely ready to move on from,’ he says. ‘I was fascinated by it and wanted to push it further.’
This time, we get to snoop on the goings on in three different rooms and, unlike Interiors, there is no narrative voice to keep us straight. ‘Someone asked me why do another show behind glass, but my answer is why shouldn’t every show be behind glass?’ says Lenton. ‘For me, it’s more interesting than watching a play where the fourth wall is invisible and everything is neatly explained to you.’
His intention in Saturday Night, a dark meditation on solitude, is to encourage audiences to make their own interpretations of his dreamlike images. ‘Saturday Night is the flip side of Interiors,’ he says. ‘Where Interiors celebrated the ephemerality and delicacy of life, this is abut the darker and more chaotic forces of nature. I was interested in creating something that was like a dream, that doesn’t add up, that doesn’t explain itself.’
Fri 7–Sat 15 Oct, Tramway, Glasgow and on tour.