Review: Silence at Pleasance @ EICC
3★★★

Silence is a sequel. Poland’s Teatr Biuro Podrozy’s previous instalment, Carmen Funebre,  examined war, focusing on the Bosnian conflict.

Silence brings a similar lens to the refugee experience. A bus sets the backdrop for the open air stage. Though there are no driving scenes, we can infer that the cast are on a harrowing journey to safety.

The play is at its most haunting during the opening and closing, when Death steps out to survey his work. He strikes an eerie figure. Is he filled with pity, or malice? We never learn. The refugees also do not speak, and do little to demonstrate individual personality. Instead they function as a community, each the guardian of a model child. There are light, human moments, mournful scenes, and flashes of tragedy, all interspersed with violent interruptions both human and otherworldly.




There is no plot or dialogue to hook the audience. The refugee characters never grow or develop. Rather, Silence relies on a mixture of poignancy and violent spectacles to make its impact. Music is one of its strongest elements. Sad scenes are marked by a beautiful string piece, while fire and war is announced by a thudding bass and metallic guitar chords. Some moments are mundane, or repetitive. Many are fiercely powerful, but that’s all the play is: a series of moments.

By the play’s end, the detritus of war and flight litters the stage. An actor comes to clean it up with a hose. It’s unclear what it all meant.

Silence, Pleasance @ EICC, Aug 10-19, times vary

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