MAPPING THE EDGE
by Amanda Dalton, Bernardine Evaristo, Alison Fell
WilsonWilsonCompany Crucible Studio & beyond to 22 September 2001
Runs 2hr 50min No formal interval
TICKETS 0114 249 6000
Review Timothy Ramsden 7 September 2001
A sites-specific work that interlaces three stories spanning a century to build a picture of continuity and change in a city’s human faces.Co-creator Wilsons, Wils (director) and Louise Ann (designer) built the Huddersfield performance piece House a few years back. Now they take to Sheffield’s streets with a mix of three stories about strangers abandoned in the city.
Various environments spread round the studio offer clues to these stories. Someone’s designing a skirt and reading about Greek Tragedy. There’s a wartime operations-room map of Sheffield; on it model aircraft are accompanied by a single modern bus. Boxing gloves lie on sand by a beached boat.
Their stories unfold as we take to the streets, sometimes coming across characters or catching them at a distance. In a backyard a young woman kneels on turf. In an old factory, as invisible machines clank and lights appear then fade in windows, Victorian Sheffield’s industrial prowess attracts an American and a Yemeni whose story is in the mix.
A wartime WAAF from Greece strikes up a whirlwind romance with a soldier. Her older self recalls events down the tube of time, and a mugging takes place in that dismal urban feature, an underpass.
By bus then to a boxing gym where the stories turn sour. Then from urban scrubland by gleaming Sheffield tram to the denouement in the City Hall’s subterranean ballroom. By now the initially hesitant plot hurtles forward, the tragedy of Medea’s revenge underlining the action. It’s the evening’s sole constriction, patterning the separate stories too neatly.
That apart, the Wilsons’ cast capture the spirit of Sheffield and a sense of people caught up in its mighty processes. Back in 1966 the old Sheffield Playhouse used the sixties documentary movement to sum up the city’s history in Alan Cullen’s Stirrings in Sheffield on Saturday Night. This piece seals a new generation’s perceptions of a multi-ethnic, post-industrial society in a theatrical vocabulary for the new century.