Arts Review: Fatherland

Nic Green, Arches, 13th November

To the beat of a drum, Nic Green explores her relationship with her father – who she met once when she was sixteen- Scotland, and space.

Fatherland begins by provoking emotion using a sense not often explored by actors – taste. Every audience member is greeted with a dram of whisky, a practice which I feel more companies should adopt. Beginning the piece with something so evocative of Scotland, Green sets the theme as soon as you step into the theatre.

The writing is poetic and discusses the role space and nature takes in creating identity. Words are projected behind the stage, with the instruction to the audience to read aloud in unison. Green herself speaks infrequently – she doesn’t need to. At one point, the drum stops and she repeats the conversation she and her father had on their first and only meeting. Incredibly poignant and humorous, she seems self-conscious and nervous in his presence. The audience, representing the father, see her as shy and self-deprecating, which contrasts perfectly with the rest of her performance.

Highland dance is used extensively throughout the piece. Green chalks a circle on the black floor of the stage, and dances around its confines. She is originally dressed in a conservative, grey, three-piece suit which she takes off piece by piece throughout the dance, until she is wearing only a pair of trainers and tartan pants.

Every movement is timed perfectly. Her body flexes and her muscles tense in time with the drum. As her clothes are removed, the bagpipes begin to play. The ancient sounds, dances, and tastes of Scotland have taken the place of her father.

[Lucy McCalister]

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