Still

Still by Frances Poet makes its world premiere courtesy of The Traverse Theatre Company at their theatre. It’s directed by Gareth Nicholls and will later be available to stream on-demand.

intriguing, even if it might sound somewhat morbid

The lives of six Edinburgh characters are dominated by pain that is either physical, mental or both. Suffering, in one way or another, pervades the play and provides a fascinating insight into some of the forms it can take and the ways in which people handle it. Mick (Gerry Mulgrew) might add elements of humour and be entertaining, but his homeless life is controlled by drink that gives him memory loss, causes him to stagger around the streets and to find himself waking up in unlikely places. In stark contrast Gaynor (Molly Innes) is housebound with her illness, cantankerous and bitter, as witnessed in her exchanges with Dougie (Martin Donaghy), her son, and his partner Ciara (Mercy Ojelade), a young vet, who is pregnant and has enough to deal with without the vicious rhetoric of Gaynor. Dougie, meanwhile, is in the middle, trying to appease his mother and empathise with what Ciara is going through. The young Gilly (Naomi Stirrat) meets Ciara when she takes her sick dog to be seen and receives the fatal diagnosis that, in an interesting parallel, matches that of her father.

Live sounds and music from Oguz Kaplangi underscore the text and provide interludes between the scenes that capture both the location and themes of the play. Lighting design by Colin Grenfell along with Karen Tennent’s set provide an almost surrealist canvas when the items are left in place, but there is a lot of moving to be done to accommodate the scenes.

It’s all intriguing, even if it might sound somewhat morbid, providing material for reflection and the opportunity to consider life as experienced by others and perhaps be grateful. Solid performances from this diverse cast encourage this approach to the work.

Reviews by Richard Beck

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★★★★
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★★★★
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★★★
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★★
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★★

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The Blurb

Folk say you can trick a brain. Placebo power. I’m going to stand up and it’ll feel better.'

Across Edinburgh, five souls stagger towards each other, hoping to be transformed.

Gaynor’s got to leave the house if she wants to meet her newborn granddaughter. Stillness has been the only way to deal with her chronic pain but now it’s time to move.

Gilly’s not sure what her dying dad’s feeling but the one thing she knows from experience is that it’s best not to Google it.

Dougie and Ciara have spent their last NCT class preparing for the labour pains ahead but now it’s time for one last night on the dance floor.

And then there’s Mick, who wakes up on Portobello Beach in the early hours of the morning with two gold rings in his pocket. He can’t remember what they’re for but he knows it’s something important. He’ll work out what if only his old pal, Pat, will stop buying him drinks…

Full of tenderness and humour, and woven through with a live, folk-rock inspired, musical score, Still is a cathartic story of life, loss and joy. Set in familiar locations around Edinburgh, this stripped-back production draws audiences straight into the heart of the story as we welcome you back into our space for the first time since March 2020.

Written by Frances Poet (Adam, Gut), directed by Traverse Artistic Director Gareth Nicholls (Ulster American, Crocodile Fever), with design by Karen Tennent, lighting design by Colin Grenfell and composition and sound design by Oguz Kaplangi.

Still will be performed in Traverse 1, with a reduced audience capacity and social distancing in place. The performance will be available to stream on-demand from late August.

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