This is how theatre should be.
If you see one show at the Fringe this year: make it this one
Difficult. Challenging. Delicate. Beautiful. Haunting. Leaving you with an ache that you cannot reconcile for minutes, hours, days after the event.
The stage is busy; nondescript white box shelves lining the back wall; trollies; instruments; microphones. As the piece progresses and every single item is utilised in a highly imaginative and deliberate way you start to appreciate the finesse of the company.
The opening introduction from Andres Velasquez is charming and informal; and we are led, with increasing intensity to the final, awful message of the play. One cannot help but contrast Velasquez’s face at the close of the piece to the beginning and ponder the death of his wide smile. Perhaps its own tribute to the gravity of the subject matter and the responsibility to those it seeks to honour; perhaps a reminder that full recovery from intimate knowledge of such events may never be possible.
Ephemeral Ensemble use testimonies of Latin American refugees and migrants who have suffered under authoritarian regimes to construct this evocative piece which continues to resonate with the audience long after we have left the theatre.
With little reliance on dialogue, and some extraordinary moments of physical theatre; we are guided through the awful reality of forensic archaeologists uncovering the remains of those who who have stood up against human rights abuses. The international company also comprises Eyglo Belafonte and Louise Wilcox who flow and mesh about the stage with an almost unbearable fusion of lightness of technique with weight of understanding.
Lighting designer Josephine Tremelling traverses the stage with the performers; creating effects with an interactive immediacy which suggests the very deliberate choices made by those in command. When water washes a portrait and is mingled with drops of blood, we are inevitably reminded that someone, somewhere made that decision to cut off the life of another.
Alex Paton’s stunning range of musical underscoring helps to drive the narrative and signpost our locations with exquisite precision; and illuminates one extraordinary puppetry scene which is easily one of the most dramatically articulate and emotionally redolent things I have ever seen on stage.
Director Ramon Ayres has created an immaculately wrought experience with care, love and respect evident in every moment. It is apt for a piece which seeks to sustain the legacy of those who have been silenced to continue resonating with the audience long after we have left the theatre... and this one is sure to prove difficult to forget.
It is not often that we get the chance to see a piece of theatre at once so utterly beautiful and deeply purposeful; and it is no exaggeration to suggest that watching this will leave a weighty impression on you heart. If you see one show at the Fringe this year; make it this one.