Where: Inner London
30 July 2009 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews There are few plays, let alone one-man shows, which have the power to truly change minds and hearts. Dirt is one such rare piece of theatre, and its combination of poignant writing delivered with beguiling emotionality makes this performance an absolute must-see.
Dirt gives the audience an insight into the life of illegal Iraqi immigrant Sad (Christopher Domig), not a Kurd but an Arab. Someone who, having failed to qualify for protection under what are arguably outdated definitions of refugeehood, is forced to live on the periphery of western society. As the audience glimpse into the lonely existence of this outsider we are called to put aside the labels that distinguish him from us, such as ‘illegal immigrant’ or ‘non-citizen’and view Sad as a human being - the only label of any real importance.
To Sad, words are not just throwaway; one can make all the difference. “Kodak changed my life”, he says, pointing at a faded picture of his now deceased family, “my eyes are closed…I wasn’t used to having my picture taken”. Kodak is not just Sad’s first foray into the English language but a metaphor for the western culture from which he remains divided. This metaphoric duality is implicit in the title,
Dirt, and resonates throughout the performance. It is from dirt that beautiful things can grow – like the red roses that Sad sells on the streets each night to make his living. So too, understanding and acceptance can come from something as ugly as hatred. Playwright Robert Schneider’s point comes slowly at first but with increasing intensity as the performance continues.
This is outstanding writing brought to life by an exceptional and committed actor. Domig’s performance is impossible to fault. Recognition must go also to David Robinson’s direction, for despite Domig’s familiarity with the text, he shows no sign of fatigue. The set design (Daniel Domig) – a sparse and dingy interior – provides credible context to Sad’s isolated existence and is strengthened by the sole use of candlelight at times, intensifying the horror of the marginalisation of Sad and others like him.
We owe Domig thanks for his persistence in pursuing the staging of this piece.
Dirt is a play that should be seen by everyone at least once for it would be a challenge not to be touched by this intense and important piece of theatre.<p>
- Catrina Denvir
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
Donmar stages Nick Payne premiere, Wesker's Roots & Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus The Donmar Warehouse has announced its new season, which features the premiere of Nick Payne's new p... Matilda on Broadway wins five Drama Desk Awards The Broadway transfer of Matilda The Musical has won five gongs at the 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards... Pulitzer winner : Islam is 'ripe territory' for drama Ayad Akhtar Ayad Akhtar's play Disgraced, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, receives its UK premiere ... Michael Coveney: New York honours Matilda with five big awards First blood in the New York awards contest went to Matilda last night, as the show walked off with... Opening: Relatively Speaking, Southwark Playhouse's Tanzi Libre & NT Shed's Bullet Catch Among this week's major London theatre openings, in the West End and further afield, are Relatively ... Young Vic's award-winning Doll's House transfers to West End Carrie Cracknell's critically acclaimed Young Vic production of A Doll's House, using an adaptatio... Let It Be extends booking at Savoy until Jan 2014 Let It Be, the concert show based on the music of The Beatles, has extended its run at the Savoy... West End gets Lucky with Tom Hanks? Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks is reportedly in talks to reprise his role in hit Broadway play Lucky ... Benedict Nightingale on judging the Bruntwood Prize Guest Blog: Former Times theatre critic Benedict Nightingale is among the judges of this year's Bruntwood Priz... : Theatre 'flops' ripe for reinvention Ten of the Best Defining a theatre 'flop' is no straightforward task. A general rule of thumb could be that it mak...