Sunday 14 May 2017

We Are the Ones Our Parents Warned Us About – Stückemarkt, (HdBF, TT17), Berlin

[seen 12/05/17]

Tanja Šljivar’s new play – We Are the Ones Our Parents Warned Us About – is, I think, probably very good. Stood up as a two-and-a-half hander in a rehearsed reading, with German actors reading an English script, perhaps too much gets lost for any definitive sort of judgement, though. It’s in that narrate-y style that’s become/ing popular (cf. most recently How My Light Is Spent), and I imagine the script gives little clue as to how to stage it.

There are a few characters, who here were played by one man, one woman, and another bloke behind a kind of DJ/laptop/sounddesk/etc. read in some “stage direction” narrations, and maybe even the odd additional character(?). The story itself – the entire thing was relatively hard to follow at the time, and writing up a day later is almost impossible to remember with real clarity – involves a mother at her son’s grave, the voice of her dead son, her dead son when he was alive (telling people he’s going to kill himself), then somewhere along the line there’s a bit where a young man also has sex with a woman the mother’s age (the mother? But presumably not the son) in a disco toilet(?). Maybe the script does that Lynch-y/Three Kingdoms-y fold back on itself to facilitate an impossible incestuous encounter between dead son and grieving mother, but I’m pretty sure I just blinked and missed something because there were only two actors playing more than two parts. (I know, I know; these are Billingtonian levels of incomprehension and apparent refusal to grasp what is probably a really self-explanatory text. I can only promise that in the event, the reading – which did at least look lovely, and have both a smoke machine and banging music – made it less than entirely clear (to me).)

I guess I should probably stop digging my grave here.

Would love to read the script; see a full production; even see a different reading; but this is pretty much all I can say about what I saw in the event.

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