15th March 2007
Two economic migrants sit in a railway station where the trains no longer stop. The stationmaster is at first suspicious but later comes to accept them, particularly when he discovers that the older of the two was also once a railwayman. Meanwhile in the town local industries close down and the resentful workers are either unemployed or have to move away. They look for someone to blame and pick the easiest target, the recently arrived strangers at the rail station.
Although set in the Europe of 1994, David Greig’s play could equally well be taking place today. The continent is still experiencing changes which are manifested by the movement of refugees, economic migrants and the death of old industries. The play still has a power to resonate – or rather it should have.
It’s well enough staged. There’s a big screen at the back of the performing space simulating passing trains and at the end a fire as the newly unemployed locals burn down the station and its occupants. The wide stage is used to move swiftly between scenes – or even have them over lapping – but somehow the production remains unconvincing. It all seems rather one-paced.
The acting was variable. However, Robert Paterson’s stationmaster and –particularly – Johannes Flaschberger’s refugee stood out.
There were bursts of dramatic violence and an effective use of fire before the final conflagration. The sub-Brechtian scene naming on the giant screen, and the fact the cast sat at the stage side when not performing, seemed an affectation rather than a convincing part of the whole or use of the alienation technique.
Europe should have had a more powerful revival: unfortunately this production did not catch fire – unlike the railway station.
The Pit until April 10th