LA REPRISE Histoire(s) Du Theatre (1)
The Lyceum (Edinburgh International Festival)
August 3 to 5 8.00 pm August 4 2.00 pm.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 stars)
This is a most absorbing and illuminating piece of theatre. The programme notes may have you scratching your head before entering the auditorium, but – fear not. You are in the very expert hands of director and creator of the concept Milo Rau.
A tall and assured actor strides from back to front of the stage and asks, “What just happened?” He then becomes the Ghost from Hamlet. Over the next hundred minutes we are to interrogate what makes theatre, how people approach the business of acting (including seeing people local to the production being interviewed for roles), the state of society in the region concerned, and how a certain brutal murder occurred.
The central action is the a very violent homophobic murder in Liege in 2012, its consequences for those close to the victim and the trial that ensued. There is the coincidence of the birthdays of both the victim and the driver of the car. And, why did the victim get into this car?
All the elements of this production add to our awareness of the complete situation. We see how the area has lost any sense of purpose since de-industrialisation, that the local film industry is one of the few employers, how the sense of society has changed, and the ways that the local amateur actors fill their time.
After many threads have come together, we are taken through the murder in a thorough manner. we are not spared, and we experience the effects on the victim’s mother and his lover. We are encouraged to reflect on this violence done to one victim, to those around him and to a society. There is not time to consider the centuries of homophobia and the lack of sense of self-worth and social engagement of the killers that lie behind the death. But we are led to think of how an audience views what is on stage, how a citizen sees what is around him, and how we all interact.
Every item in this show adds to the whole. Including the amazing use of the work of Purcell at the end.
This is a quite brilliant work of theatre, and the best thing I have seen at the Festival so far. I hope that this company prospers and continues to produce work of this extremely high standard.