Ten years ago, The Laramie Project definitively demonstrated
the power of verbatim drama. Now Andy Paris, one of the creators of
that masterwork, and students from the East-West Project have created
a vivid theatrical exploration of the modern American family. This
committed young company create a patchwork of lives and insights with
considerable style in one of Edinburgh's least-condusive spaces.
Incorporating portable lights, umbrellas and shadow play, it showcases
some striking performances (with three exceptional male actors) and
largely avoids the sentimentality one might expect from the subject.
Some moments, such as a gay student’s estranged relationship from his
father and a girl’s comment that “You know you’re a grown-up when you
testify at the trial of the man who raped you” are affecting; others
are funny; and the finale is beautiful.
This fascinating short piece is clearly the basis for a longer play
which can explore its themes in more depth than the scattering of
stories displayed here allows. But the way it combines such a variety
of subjects with such a dynamic visual flair makes it well worth
catching and me, for one, keen to track its future life.