Frenchman Bertrand Lesca and British-Greek Nasi Voutsas take on the EU and the Syrian crisis in the first two parts of a subversive ‘accidental trilogy’ bound by an austere tragicomic visual language. Accessible and entertaining, expect big themes, character-driven performances and the capacity to shift the mood very suddenly from light to dark.
Developed in the UK at the time when the Brexit winds were starting to blow, Eurohouse focuses specifically on the Greek crisis. It utilises carefully selected props; alluring blue packets of M&Ms, folding chairs, a bin and an intrusive French-language version of the song My Way, to show charming Bert (France) befriending, bullying and repeatedly humiliating Nasi (Greece).
The piece was born of confusion, say the duo. While not overtly political, performed in a compact visual space that incorporates the audience – complicit yet frequently frustrated – it’s a bit like dropping a stone in a pool; references circle out to implicate wider abuses of power.
Named after the ancient Syrian city destroyed by ISIL, Palmyra was developed independently yet leads on from Eurohouse, not least with the prominent smashing of plates – an archetypical Greek tradition. It ruminates on notions of Orient and Occident, terms still defined by archaic interpretations of what constitutes civilisation.
Again, the piece works the audience. Each object used: a very tall ladder, a hammer, has the potential for danger, says Bert. The atmosphere is tense and precarious. As the debris piles up, the sense of danger and hopelessness increase.
The themes of power dynamics, manipulation, revenge politics and the triggers for it continue in a third piece, currently in development. Entitled One, it centres on polarised political positions of left and right.
Eurohouse/Palmyra was performed at Teatre Lliure – Gràcia 19.10 – 21.10.2018