Kinetic art specialists Sharmanka stage A Man Came to a Woman
USSR-set physical comedy farce satirises relationships between older people
Sex, when you get to a certain age, becomes problematic. Not the act itself, you understand, but its initiation: all those courting rituals can seem so dreadfully tedious. At least they are in Simon Zlotnikov's USSR-set A Man Came to a Woman, a surreal farce which is making its English language premier at the Tron this month as part of the Glasgow Comedy Festival.
The play was banned by the Soviets for its portrayal of dysfunctional families and cramped apartments where life is carried out to the soundtrack of next-door's lives. For exactly those reasons it became a hit in post-Soviet Russia -- running for over 15 years in Moscow. Staging it in Glasgow is the fulfillment of a long-held desire of Russian-born kinetic art specialists Sharmanka to get a Scots-based company working with a Russian director on a Russian play.
'On that basis I did a research trip to St Petersburg to have a look at some Russian theatre,' says Garry Robson artistic director of co-producers Fittings, who had worked with Sharmanka and will be playing the male character in the two-hander. 'I was particularly interested in the way professional disabled performers work in Russia. To discover that there aren't any, basically. It is not a concept which is understood. Disabled people have a much more passive role: they are cared for rather than putting anything into society.'
Now, by adding Robson's own disability into the mix, the company are adding another level of meaning to the text of this highly physical piece. And one which is transferring to St Petersburg after Glasgow.
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Fri 15--Sat 23 Mar