Oran Mor, Glasgow, until Sat 29 Mar
There’s a long tradition of theatre and film which explores bigger existential questions through what might, on the face of it, seem a familiar commercial vehicle. It’s possible, for example, to see Pinter’s play, The Dumb Waiter, as on one level, the simple story of the tension that arises between two hired assassins as they await their latest victim. Yet any critic will tell you that the piece explores far more than this.
Pinter’s play comes to mind as Martin McCardie describes his new piece for Oran Mor, which is also about a pair of hit men increasingly questioning both their occupations and their very existence. ‘There’s this older character who’s done a job for 15 years, and shut himself off from all the implications of what he does,’ McCardie explains. ‘As the play goes on, the young assistant begins to ask questions about this process of taking orders and simply carrying them out.’
Yet there’s a much more substantial story than this to the piece. ‘There’s a big section of the play which simply asks what is the truth; is it what happens, or is it what we choose to tell ourselves after the event. In other words it’s about how the truth that becomes accepted isn’t necessarily what happened.’ McCardie has plans afoot for a full-length production; asked about the Pinter play he seems pleased with the comparison. ‘Yes, someone else compared it to The Dumb Waiter which I took as a compliment.’ As well he should.