All theatre is physical, but some theatre is more physical than most, and this writhing, sweaty, angry solo performance by Nicola Pianzola of the Instabili Vaganti theatre company of Italy makes a tough work-out in the gym or on the dance floor look like a stroll in the park.
Pianzola's all pumped up about a steel works in Taranto, an important coastal city in Apulia, which is creating industrial hazards and emitting deadly dioxins (ten percent of Europe's total), allegedly causing runaway numbers of deaths from cancer.
I have to spell this out because the performance deals less in facts and figures than in imagery and gesture. On a carefully lit, very small acting area, Pianzola rocks back and forth in a tiny steel cage, conveying the brutalisation of the work, its monotony and endless repetition.
He's like Mark Thomas sounding off about the arms industry reprocessed by Karel Capek and Kafka, a sort of glistening, bug-eyed beetle who represents a legion of low-paid workers with no recourse to justice and a death sentence instead of a retirement pension.
The situation is like that in Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, where the polluted spa is kept open to maintain the town's economy. The ILVA factory still prospers, employing 12,000 local people.
Pianzola is their spokesman, a sinuous and indefatigable one-man band, Ibsen's Dr Stockmann in liquid, molten form, a serpent of death, a canker in the system, a spanner in the works.
Made in ILVA runs at Summerhall until 24 August
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