A Game Of You
4 stars ****
Traverse Theatre (Venue 15)
ONTROEREND GOED is one of Belgium’s most acclaimed theatre groups; and one of the key reasond for their fame is that instead of simply reflecting the profound individualism of the culture in which we live, they like to invite their audiences to confront it, to analyse it, and to think afresh about how they interact with other people.
A Game Of You is the third part of what they call their “personal trilogy”, which began a decade ago with The Smile Off Your Face; and this time around, as they lead each individual audience member into a dark labyrinth of spaces off the Traverse atrium, they use a web of visual and sound technology to confront us repeatedly with images of ourselves, as experienced by ourselves and other people. Over 30 minutes or so, we meet members of the company and chat to them, then hear our words reported back, or used to start a dialogue with the next audience member; we invent new identities for ourselves and others, and in the end, we receive a CD, recording our experience.
So far, i haven’t been able to watch the CD: one intense of half-hour of confrontation with my own image seems enough, for any one week. What’s striking about A Game Of You, though, is the careful gentleness of the experience, and the atmosphere of respect and even love with which the company surround our impromptu ramblings and responses. Whether I learned anything much from A Game Of You is hard to say. Yet there’s something about the mood of welcoming acceptance created by the company that seems strangely memorable and liberating; perhaps the lesson is that if we can learn to be as accepting of ourselves, then we might also find it easier both to connect with others, and to see ourselves as others see us.
Not in Fringe programme