Histoire d’amour

The underlying theme behind this year’s Edinburgh Festival is the relationship between art and new technology. Many of the productions have elements of this theme, but none more so than “Histoire d’Amour” from Chilean company Teatrocinema. The experimental staging of this work is extraordinary. The set is like a black and white film. The two actors – Julian Marras and Bernardita Montero – stand behind screens onto which are projected huge black and white manga comic strip type graphics, often exaggerated deliberately out of proportion. Their interaction with the graphics is a complex choreography of precise movement, timing, and lighting, and is a stunning piece of technical complexity. However, moving from form to content, all this artistry combines to tell the most horrible “love story” imaginable – the psychotic ramblings of a nameless narrator obsessed by a woman he sees on the train, who tracks her to her apartment, terrorises her, rapes her, and even after a short prison sentence continues to stalk, pursue, beat and abuse her. She changes apartment, she changes job – there is no escape. He always finds her, year after year. There is only one voice in this drama, that of Julian Marras the narrator, but the silence of Sofia ( Bernardita Montero) is her form of eloquence. From her one screamed word of “NO!” we see her become more and more distraught and cowed, her life totally ruined by the constant fear of harrassment and abuse. It is harrowing theatre to be party to the delusions of a madman, convinced that this is love and that Sofia will welcome his attentions. One can admire the stagecraft and the acting. I doubt if many audiences will be comfortable with the play.

*** for acting and technical merit.
King’s Theatre until 17th August

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