LIFE x 3: Yasmina Reza: Touring till 17 November


LIFE x 3: Yasmina Reza, Trans Christopher Hampton
Runs: 1 hr 20 mins, No interval, tours till 17th Nov (see below)
Review: Rod Dungate, 3rd September @ Bham Rep

A delicate play: the company of four dance their way through the
dialogue with consummate ease and grace

On the face of it LIFE x 3 looks like a very slight piece, but as we all know,
appearances can be deceptive. In her play Yasmina Reza sets out to analyse
life (which is a big thing) and in order to do this sets a group of people (who
are insignificant things) talking about the Universe (which is the biggest thing
we can conceive of) and about whether six year olds should have chocolate
fingers after they’ve brushed their teeth at bed time (which is a small thing
really.) The result is anything but slight.

The setting for her two couples’ conversations is domestic: one couple
turn up for a dinner party the evening before the host couple are expecting
them and when they have no food in the house other than chocolate biscuits
and Wotsits (both smoky bacon and barbecue flavour). The two men are astro
physicists, the host one about to publish a paper on Are Galaxy Halos Flat?, a
huge topic which, it would seem, is of no obvious importance to our lives at
all. Reza then plays the situation three times over, with different character
choices each time.

The immense is juxtaposed with the mundane: the characters give them
equal weight and have no sense of proportion – a laddered stocking makes the
wearer ‘look like a tinker’. This repetition of detail has a curious effect: we are
forced to analyse what our lives are really about. That the characters never do
this although they have the information is all the more disturbing. It’s as if
they are given the pieces of a jig-saw but just move them about because they
don’t realise they build into a picture.

By repeating the situation three times, with variations, we become aware
of the infinite possibilities in our lives we never explore, maybe wasting our

This play is not slight, it is delicate. The company of four (Belinda Lang,
David Haig, Serena Evans and David Yelland) dance their way through the
dialogue with consummate ease and grace allowing the humour and pain of
this unusual play to blossom.

Sonia: Belinda Lang
Henri: David Haig
Ines: Serena Evans
Hubert: David Yelland

Director: Jennie Darnell
Design: Mark Thompson
Lighting: Hugh Vanstone
Music: Gary Yershon

2001-09-04 09:23:36

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