4 stars ****
Summerhall (Venue 26)
IN ONE OF THE creaking Summerhall lecture theatres, a young man with a shut-down expression and haunted eyes sits on a high stool, reading expressionlessly from a script in which reflects on his experiences of the last few years. His name is Wojtek Ziemilski; and behind him, a screen shows an almost bewildering series of images.
Sometimes, there are pages of text from the report which exposed Ziemilski’s grandfather as a long -term informer with the Communist Security Services; sometimes, there is video of recent operformance art installations across Europe, each one more absurdist in intention than the last. And shatteringly, towards the end, there are a few fragments of film of Ziemilski’s grandfather himself, a shuffling, harmless-looking old man, intercut with black-and-white photograhps of him in his smiling prime.
Ziemlinski’s deliberately blank delivery is not easy to listen to, and no-one could describe this short 45 minute show as entertainment. Yet it has a certain grim beauty of its own; and in the end, it delivers a quietly devastating account of the forces that have compelled a generation to abandon grand narratives and to question the very idea of a search for meaning, in the world of illusions, lies and uncertainties their parents and grandparents have left them.
Until 23 August