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Credit: Yanto
Credit: Yanto

You Are Not The One Who Shall Live Long, ZOO Southside – Review

Pros: Cutting edge European dance theatre.

Cons: Bleak themes. Because the meaning is deliberately obscure, some audience members might feel alienated by the strong images.

Pros: Cutting edge European dance theatre. Cons: Bleak themes. Because the meaning is deliberately obscure, some audience members might feel alienated by the strong images. On a dimly lit, smoky stage, a man stands before a microphone, eyes closed. As a low tremolo guitar plays underneath, he delivers a monologue about death and nothing, standing still and impassive, as if speaking from a dream. Suddenly another man enters, banging a drum and smashing a cymbal. The speaker slumps forward. A woman enters, locking and popping, fixing her joints in space, then swinging her limbs like a puppet. The drummer…

Summary

Rating

Good

A fascinating piece full of startling images. Intelligent and rigorously trained performers are compelling to watch, but the themes are bleak and difficult to grasp at times.

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On a dimly lit, smoky stage, a man stands before a microphone, eyes closed. As a low tremolo guitar plays underneath, he delivers a monologue about death and nothing, standing still and impassive, as if speaking from a dream. Suddenly another man enters, banging a drum and smashing a cymbal. The speaker slumps forward. A woman enters, locking and popping, fixing her joints in space, then swinging her limbs like a puppet. The drummer screams at her “say I die! In Chinese!”.

This is the work of Rootless Root, who are in Edinburgh as part of the Czech Showcase. The show’s programme asserts that there is no concept, nothing but flux, and calls the work “A look at features of political and social criticism and the obsession of satisfying our needs, whether it is love, sex or money.” These themes were abstracted and the results, although compelling, made for a bleak hour. The space felt too large, threatening at times to swallow the four excellent performers, although perhaps this fitted the existential angst of the work.

Episodic in structure, a movement passage for the quartet performed in unison to driving rock guitar and drums showcased their ferociously fearless physicality. The choreographers are influenced by athletics and martial arts, and the style was organic and urgent. Failing to communicate and the futility of attempting to do so was expressed through strong and unsettling images. The woman moved as if controlled, speaking with the voice of another, and the men stuffed wads of cotton under their upper and lower lips, creating grotesquely distorted monkey faces through which they tried to communicate with the audience.

The chilling final image was open to interpretation, but appeared deliberately gendered – the woman lay dead and the men stood spot-lit at a corner table tucking in to bread, cheese and fruit, and toasting with vodka shots. It was an enigmatic ending to a piece which seethed with quiet power, but was completely baffling at times.

Choreography: Rootless Root with DOT 504
Performers: Nathan Jardin, Hyaejin Lee, Pavel Masek, Knut Vikstrom Precht
Producer: Rootless Root
Booking Until: 19 August 2017
Box Office: 0131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/you-are-not-the-one-who-shall-live-long

About Alexandra Gray

Alexandra Gray
Alexandra’s love of physical theatre first became clear at five years old when she veered off script in the school nativity play. At the entrance of the Angel Gabriel, she cartwheeled across the stage crying ‘Yippee, an angel of the lord!’ and the Virgin Mary burst into tears. Following this auspicious start, she went on to study dance and theatre and is currently doing her Masters in English Literature. When not in the library or at the theatre, she can be found singing jazz professionally, teaching yoga, and growing broad beans.