Meet Me At Dawn

Zinnie Harris has five plays on in Edinburgh this August, including two within the Edinburgh International Festival’s theatre programme. While she may not yet be a household name, in the last couple of years alone her work has been recognised by the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) as both much-in-demand writer and director. It’s unclear, however, to what extent her new play, Meet Me At Dawn, will add to her reputation.

Meet Me At Dawn has real insight and authenticity.

Certainly, it’s been given a fine production by the Traverse’s Artistic Director, Orla O’Loughlin, even if a cynic might suggest designer Fred Meller has literally thrown in the kitchen sink—half buried in a misty darkness which is then suddenly illuminated to reveal a craggy slab of rock, dusted with sand and surrounded by a glistening plastic sea. This is when two women stagger into view: Neve McIntosh as Robyn—frightened, confused, and ready to throw up—and Sharon Duncan-Brewster as her partner Helen—fired up, full of adrenaline at their predicament. Both the survivors of a boat accident.

Given it’s a two-hander, McIntosh and Duncan-Brewster prove to be a well-balanced couple, their performances full of fear, anger and that deep-seated love worn down round the edges by everyday physical intimacy. But it is clear, from the start, that something is awry; they seemingly can’t stop talking and, while unsure if they’re on an island or further down the coast from their original starting point, seem stuck where they are. Except… that Robyn is haunted by the ‘muscle memory’ of being somewhere else, alone. Then there’s that ‘mad’ woman they meet, who we never see…

To Harris’s credit, the strangeness of the situation draws you in—even all that business with the strange dry moth caught in Robyn’s hair—but it takes longer than it should for their situation to become clearer, with a script so full of words it feels as if the rhythms are much more important than any meaning. Nevertheless, as a touching portrayal of grief and loss, Meet Me At Dawn has real insight and authenticity. 

Reviews by Paul Fisher Cockburn

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Two women wash up on a distant shore following a violent boating accident. Dazed by their experience, they look for a path home. But they discover that this unfamiliar land is not what it seems – and that, though they may be together, they have never been further apart.

Unflinchingly honest and tenderly lyrical, Meet Me at Dawn is a modern fable exploring the triumph of

everyday love, the mystery of grief, and the temptation to become lost in a fantasy future that will never be.

Inspired by Orpheus’s desperate reclamation of his wife Eurydice from the underworld, Meet Me at Dawn is written by the award-winning playwright Zinnie Harris and directed by the Traverse Theatre's Artistic Director Orla O’Loughlin.

This production receives its world premiere at this year's International Festival alongside two Zinnie Harris adaptations – Oresteia: This Restless House and Rhinoceros.

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