Dundee Rep revives Further Than the Furthest Thing
James Brining adapts Zinnie Harris's first play
James Brining, artistic director of Dundee Rep, has a rule of thumb about choosing plays. ‘When you have a strong sense of how to do it and how it should look,’ he says, then it’s time. And if this coincides with the members of the repertory company fitting the cast list, then ‘the stars are all in alignment’. And so it turns out that a daring production of Zinnie Harris’s Further Than the Furthest Thing will be Brining’s last show in Dundee before he heads off to his new job at West Yorkshire Playhouse.
He’s known Further Than … since it was first performed by the Tron Theatre Company at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2000. Then, in 2006, Liz Ogilvie’s DCA show Bodies of Water gave him the visual framework. ‘Her work is all about the reflections of light on water. Somehow, the two fused in my head.’ Organising a rehearsed reading in Dublin, showed him how a piece written in patois, set in Tristan da Cuhna and then Southampton, could work without a team of accent coaches.
This production will have, he says, ‘a very particular approach’. The Rep’s wide stage will be extended to include a pool of water in the auditorium, with the actors on islands. Staging aside, Brining will play Harris’s text straight. ‘When you have a non-naturalistic, poetic environment you need some naturalistic elements. There has to be a bit of reality, otherwise it would be too much abstract symbolism. The story couldn’t get through.’
Dundee Rep, Tue 24 Apr–Sat 5 May.