Arts Review: Elision

Dir. Gudrun Soley Sigurdardottir, Tron Theatre, 8th November 2018

Elision is about half-way through and I am holding an ice cube in the palm of my hand, my hand outstretched in front of me. ‘Don’t go and get the ice melted,’ Gudrun Soley Sigurdardottir instructs us audience members when she hands out the ice cubes from an icebox. As I move around the cube on my palm to ensure I don’t loose feeling in the bits of skin the ice touches, Gudrun climbs back on the stage to tell us that this, contrary to what it might look like, is not about ice melting, or Iceland, global warming or Frozen. ‘This is about cherishing something while it slips away. All those moments you wished would last forever while you knew they wouldn’t. The choice is yours. Do you hold on, or do you let go?’

Gudrun is a performance maker and director from Iceland based in Glasgow, and while she creates autobiographical work, and Elision in particular explores national identity, otherness and ideas of belonging, it is never directly about Iceland. I visited Iceland around four years ago, and in my nostalgia I secretly wished for a performance full of romantic imagery of the country. Maybe Gudrun knows this, because she immediately bursts that bubble when ordering the audience to go ‘ooooooh’ when she announces that she is Icelandic. Throughout Elision, she plays on and undermines stereotypes about Iceland, from her continuous wish to be warm (perfectly embodied too in the set of inflatable cactus, palm tree and lilo) to her contrast between the number of inhabitants in Iceland versus in Scotland materialised on stage.

While the setting in the Vic Bar in the Tron and the slightly disjointed scenes give Elision a work-in-progress feel, it should be noted that Gudrun is an exceptionally charming and competent performer with a great humorous touch. A common line in the different scenes is a switch from the serious to the humorous, the complex and poetic to the extremely silly. While this means that the UK’s culture of separation and segregation and those themes of alikeness and otherness are not examined as thorough as they could have, it makes for a very entertaining evening in which there are continuous laugh-out-loud moments.

[Aike Jansen]

[Image credit: Julia Bauer]

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