Sophie is jumping on a miniature trampoline. Leah is doing a jigsaw puzzle. They are independent in their actions, but still connected. Their relationship is unclear, but it’s obvious they’ve been together a long time.
They are obsessive about their individual vices, but Sophie’s is the first to manifest as a problem. Finding herself unable to get off the trampoline, Leah tries a range of methods to help her transition, but still she keeps bouncing. The compulsive repetition could represent a variety of things: mental illness, or addiction, perhaps. But there’s also a social, political element to their actions, a sense that Sophie’s refusal to get off the trampoline and exist in the real, onground world might characterise the need to stick one’s head in the sand. This allows her to ignore the problem at hand, and ignore the problems around her – like Leah’s anal, anxiety ridden approach to puzzles. There’s no fun in these jigsaws; they are serious business.This, too, may be seen as a visual metaphor for the trivial and inconsequential things people use to distract themselves and fill up their minds when reality is too disturbing to think about.
Comic moments are done well, and Leah Brotherhead in particular has a knack for droll humour. Despite the absurdity of the superficial premise, there are a few genuinely distressing moments. At the outset, the idea of someone jumping on a mini trampoline for an hour might sound ridiculous, but once it all gets going and Sophie, played by Sophie Steer, does end up on solid ground, you feel the shock and fear with her. In fact, once the rhythm of the metallic springs stops and silence takes over, the discomfort in the room is palpable. A speech by Brotherhead is another powerful moment as she lists the things she doesn’t care about in a vitriol of the apathy of our times.
Surprisingly powerful, Lands is proof of the potential poignancy of the absurd.
Words: Chiara Margiotta
Picture: Meurig Marshall
Lands, Summerhall, Aug 8-20 (not 14), 12pm