Small War

The excitment, despair and futility of war are laid bare in Valentijin Dhaenens Small War.

Small War
Small War
© SKaGeN, Richard Jordan Productions Ltd & Theatre Royal Plymouth

Drawing on a wide range of writings – from Attila the Hun to modern day Rwanda and Afghanistan – Valentijn Dhaenens talks his audience through the excitement, the despair and, overall, the futility of war in Small War.

This is the universal story of myriad soldiers, bereft families and those who try to bring comfort to broken soldiers.

In a haunting, compelling hour, Dhaenens – last touring with BigMouth whose rousing warmongering speeches spawned his new piece – uses multimedia to spread the load and keep attention as vignettes unfold.

Central to the piece is the live Dhaenens playing a nurse. Her take on the carnage around her, her loss of womanhood, the trauma and humanity of the wounded littering the halls, windowsills and huts of the field hospitals is timeless and poignant.

Her vigil at the bedside of the (filmed) remains of the unknown soldier whose thoughts we hear but whose mouth can’t move and whose limbs have been sacrificed to the cause of politicians, is interspaced with songs and assisted by up to four doppelgangers.

Projected images of Dhaenens interact seamlessly with the orator as letters are written and read, memories shared and phone calls relived hammering home the message of the futility of war – past and present.

The SKaGeN, Richard Jordan and Theatre Royal Plymouth production is dark, harrowing and thought-provoking with superb video, set and sound by Jeroen Wuyts.

Worth a look