The Gappard, Scotland’s first Polish/Scottish theatre company present Hear Me, an ambitious hour-long piece, staged in the Tron Theatre’s Changing House studio space.
The programme makers claim that their aim is to look at human beings’ increasing inability to communicate in contemporary society, analysing the causes that disrupt communication.
Commissioned by the Polish Cultural Festival, Hear Me falls in line with the rest of the Gappard ’s work, utilising physical theatre as their predominant means of expression. The performance begins with a couple outstretched on a long plastic table, laying at opposite ends of each other in their nightwear. Through their bodily and verbal exchanges, a power struggle gradually ensues. The pair wrestles, both physically and verbally over their right to authority - immediately drawing the spectator into the heart of their relationship.
The intent with this one assumes is to act as commentary on the breakdown of modern relationships. Much of this drama is based around Polish author, Tadeusz Rozewicz’s Witnesses, a supposedly absurd piece by one of the giants of Polish post-war literature.
Unfortunately though, too often one wonders whether the actors and producers have bitten off more than they can chew, trying to encompass all of these themes into a short work of physical theatre. Undeniably, it is a noble effort, but it seems that the performance couldn’t entirely decide if it wanted to be a work of physicality or straightforward narrative. In the end, one is left feeling a little dissatisfied. Certainly, the audience was exposed to interesting observations about our modern times (albeit in a disjointed manner), yet one feels unsure what to do with this information.
The two actors Agnieszka Bresler and Piotr Kurjata are good performers who manage to hold a viewer’s attention, and it would be interesting to see what they would be able to do with different material.
Still, the group is given top marks for effort and ambition. Being the first Polish theatre troupe in Scotland mustn’t be easy. With this, they are building a track record of work, which will hopefully only get better. It will be exciting to see in the years to come some of the more diverse work that will come out of the Scottish/Polish theatre practitioners.