“They have their stories, we have ours.” A collaboration between acclaimed Scottish theatre companies Stellar Quines and Lung Ha, 13 Sunken Years is an incredible tale depicting three decades in the lives of three women – daughter, mother, and grandmother – in a remote Finnish town.

After Eva’s mother disappears, she is left to care for her grandmother who develops dementia, and it begins to look like Eva will never escape, destined to be one of the ‘River People’ forever. Despite all this, the play manages to include some light, and the performances are both touching and humorous in turn. Skipping back and forth in time, though never difficult to follow, the transitions are aided by the warm, rosy lighting signalling the flashbacks.

The production is further strengthened by the gorgeous set – swathes of silver voile refract and volumize the icy light in a decidedly watery manner, casting dappled patterns on the elegant wooden platforms that make up the rest of the set. The ‘river’ at the front of the stage, in which several characters take a swim, is a particularly delightful touch.

Aiming to be accessible to all, featuring extremely moving performances of sensitively-drawn characters, 13 Sunken Years is a truly emotive and well-balanced production.
Words: Hilary White

13 Sunken Years, Assembly Rooms, Aug 11 – 24 (not 18), 14:05

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