As You Always Do @ Leith Festival
Gappad, the first Scottish-Polish physical theatre company, take on controversial and topical material
Battling against the cacophony of Scooter-esque tunes blasting from the funfair next door, Gappad hold their own, plunging the audience into unsettling darkness in the Duncan Place Resource Centre.
On entering the performance space, audience members were confronted by a young woman awkwardly curled up, seemingly dead: so she remained, creating an unnerving tension until the action commenced with a total blackout and curt whispers of "where are you?" from all sides of the auditorium.
As You Always Do is a physical theatre ensemble performance of two halves. Opening with a series of tableaux and descriptions in the dark of various missing persons it juxtaposes official press reports with very physical enactments of certain moods and deeds. Thus the four actors skilfully and symbolically portray contentment, longing, rape, bereavement and desperation. The sense of loss is mirrored in the audience as a constant switching between light and dark, English and Polish heightens confusion, creating a feeling of unreality.
In the second half the main female protagonist, alive again, is encircled and bombarded with ever more frantic questions by her sinister captors. However, while we see her represented as the typical terrified victim, snapshots into the world of the media and the judiciary system reveal that spin has already kicked in and she is being judged and castigated in her absence by total strangers.
Inspired by the story of Angelika Kluk who was murdered in Glasgow in 2006, As You Always Do explores and challenges contemporary society's failure to address the phenomenon of missing persons, choosing instead to tie up loose ends by finding blame in those left behind or the absentee. Beautifully performed with feeling and sensitivity As You Always Do captivates throughout.