“Caesarean Section” by Theatr Zar

at Summerhall, Saturday 11th August 2012

I’ve been staring at the screen for the past fifteen minutes trying to work out where to start on this one. For that reason, this review will more of a stream-of-conscious than structured  analysis, so please bear with me. But firstly, ensure you buy a ticket for Caesarean Section. Done? Ok, now read on.

This isn’t conventional theatre. In the programme, Theatr Zar discuss their desire to create a theatrical experience not purely reliant on seeing and gives more emphasis to things which can be heard. This means emotion is told through a mix of movement and sound, both of which have human-made elements alongside the assistance of props and instruments. And, strikingly, even with all the innovation there is still a remarkably conventional narrative.

The basic ‘theme’ (which is perhaps the wrong word to use due to the breadth of the piece, but for ease of understanding we’ll stick with that) of Caesarean Section is suicide, its effects and causes. Two simple signifiers – wine and glass – do all the work that stunts, tricks and media could do and more and no words are spoken. Instead, all we need is demonstrated through music and movement.

The music is simply stunning. Created through use of strings accompanying choral work (and a bit of percussion), the company take us to some sublime places aurally. The movement, executed by Ditte Berkeley, Kamila Klamut and Matej Matejka, does similar things to stimulate us visually. Together, these two aspects create moments of loss, desperation and hope.

I particularly like the idea that suicide is an innate human desire against which we are all struggling; every moment is just a step closer to our eventual self-ending. One sequence demonstrates that many of our cultural artefacts centre around this latent desire (even silent movies, it is suggested, had a propensity towards suicide).

Caesarean Section is so tough to write about purely because of its carnal, base effects. A short review is nowhere near enough space to do this piece justice, so all that remains to be said is this: only one week in to this year’s Fringe, this is already a talking point. It’s only going to get bigger in the coming weeks. If you don’t get a ticket, you’ll want to kill yourself.

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