BORGES AND I
by Idle Motion.
Tour to 30 October 2012,
Runs 1hr 5min No interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 23 June at New Diorama Theatre London.
Theatre on a plane of its own.
Idle Motion are very busy. Having just toured two shows (The Seagull Effect and The Vanishing Horizon) they return to their London home with Borges and I. It has their trademark visual invention, and elements familiar from the two shows – umbrellas are recycled, and storms of paper flutter.
It also puts them clearly in the line of Theatre de Complicite, taking an intellectual subject, dealing with serious ideas in a theatrically playful way. Starting from an orderly opening, an interviewee’s powerpoint presentation goes awry, leaving her confident manner lost for words, before the situation dissolves, opening onto a wonderland of verbal speculation and imaginative visual imagery.
Jorge Luis Borges was the most notable blind writer since John Milton and a librarian with a literary reputation only rivalled (in England, anyway) by Philip Larkin. A blind librarian running Argentina’s National Library, the insight and vision of someone blind, Borges literary development of the real intertwining with the imaginary to the point where neither identity is certain, mirroring human uncertainty. It all makes for a rich mix.
Ingeniously, the flurries of invention Borges’ imagination opens up are set within the context of a book group, that most organised and everyday social organisation for cultivating interest in literature. And nowhere more than in this group, dominated by Hillary, who keeps everything orderly and unBorgesian.
Yet she can’t completely dominate, or stop a love-interest developing between two members, one of whom starts to parallel Borges in macular degeneration. As in previous work from Idle Motion, the individuals’ love story weaves around a wider history, that of Borges’ life.
There’s irony that a piece about books should lead to so many being mangled or dismembered for scenic effect as they fly open, their pages become strangely illuminated, or are shaped to suggest aeroplanes. Yet it also images what happens to the world of common experience in Borges-inspired magical realism and fantasy.
For all the Complicite influence, this group have their own identity and dramatic intelligence, and an interest in the pace and structure of their action. They’re a coming thing, and well on their way.
Hillary: Grace Chapman.
Sophie: Sophie Cullen.
Jorge Borges/Jim: Nicholas Pitt.
Gabby: Ellie Simpson.
Alice: Kate Staley.
Nick: Julian Spooner.
Dramaturge: Lotte Wakeham.
19-20 Oct 8pm Pegasus Theatre Oxford 01865 812150 www.pegasustheatre.org.uk
24 October 8pm Brewery Arts Centre Kendal 01539 75133 www.brerweryarts.co.uk
26-27 Oct Greenwich Theatre 020 8858 7755 www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk
29 Oct 8pm mac Birmingham 0121 446 3232 www.macarts.co.uk
30 Oct 7.30pm Gulbenkian Canterbury 01227 769075 www.thegulbenkian.co.uk