Can We Live With You?
- Mark Fisher
- 27 March 2008
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 3–Sat 5 Apr
Edinburgh’s Lung Ha’s theatre company has always steered clear of politics. Although set up to give performing opportunities to people with learning disabilities, the company prefers to let the work do the talking and to leave the polemics to others. But when the ensemble was devising Can We Live With You?, the idea of social attitudes to disability sprang naturally to the surface.
With a script by Alan Wilkins, author of last year’s acclaimed Traverse show Carthage Must Be Destroyed, the play is about a family who escape Scotland and head to the Land of Delightful Things, only to find themselves working in an exploitative tourist industry. The plaintive cry of ‘can we live with you?’ is a reminder of the cool reception often given to people with disabilities. ‘Generally, Lung Ha’s love telling the story and not being overtly political, but this has a strong statement that they wanted to make,’ says artistic director Clark Crystal, who has been with the 45-strong Edinburgh company for six years.
Thanks to a partnership with high-tech specialist Drake Music Scotland, Can We Live With You? will be a treat for the ears as well as the eyes. ‘I like to bring in professionals who have the nurturing quality and the artistic skills to bring out the strengths of the company,’ says Crystal. ‘Our guys bring in a non-generic type of performance; they’re not trained, they didn’t go to RADA, so they bring something different to the stage which for an audience is a bit of a wow.’