Words, Words, Words
On Friday night, a selection of aspiring playwrights had the chance to present their latest work and receive audience feedback in the protection of the Traverse Theatre stage during Words, Words, Words, the theatre’s scratch night. With support of five actors from the theatre’s core cast, extracts from six plays by six writers were performed. Although many dealt with similar themes; such as the complication of human relationships, the problem of failing communication and the strange conditions of modern society, they all showed unique ideas and creative approaches.
Most promising of all the plays was Passport to the Moon & All Other Countries by Eszter Marsalko. Narrating the story of an immigrant family from Hungary in Scotland, playing with the different perspectives of mother, grandfather and daughter on the process of integration – the play managed to hit a nerve in times of ongoing refugee movements. The extract from the play, that used typical Brechtian techniques of addressing the audience and reflecting on its own theatricality, sometimes slid into being a bit too pithy. That said it still showed a subtle but nonetheless funny humour and dynamic dialogues.
Alya: Falling by Liam McCarthy, an intimate play in the tradition of August: Osage County or Le Prénom, convinced with an unsurpassably awkward conversation between old friends, only consisting of interruptions and misunderstandings and revealing a great deal of hostility. Game Over by Michael Hart succeeded in being both touching and funny with a well-crafted monologue about the discovery of assumed infidelity and the insecurities that love entails. A somewhat darker side was revealed by Submission by Gillian Greer which showed a woman’s desperate attempt to save her marriage by rehearsing dirty talk with her own father on stage and ended in a very ambiguous image of violence. Both disturbing and puzzling, this short extract certainly gave the viewer a lot to digest.
The lack of any introductions to the plays often made it difficult for the viewer to understand the situation and character relations of the extracts. The audience’s disappointment was palpable as each scene came to an end just as they were starting to become familiar with each plays’ key ideas and characters. In addition to this, the absence of any props or costumes impeded getting an idea of the setting of the plays and thus, their style and meaning. Nonetheless the actors did a great job, compensating the any flaws with convincing and passionate performances despite having to continuously change roles every ten minutes. All in all, Words, Words, Words offered an entertaining evening and an exciting insight into the current theatre scene. If we are to expect more work from the six featured playwrights, the future of Scottish theatre looks bright.