James Thiérrée, Au Revoir Parapluie

Review in Issue 20-1 | Spring 2008

This performance declares that it will inform/educate. Does it? What preparation is needed to understand the story of the 1905 Persian Revolution? What references would be needed to see the comedy of the situation and the way it is explored? The promise of such epic work creates expectations about Iran’s culture and its mythologies.

I was hoping to come away with a sense of what the revolution was all about and an understanding of this period that might throw light on some of the sources of today’s conflicts in the Middle East. I anticipated a performance full of risk and precariousness but instead, overall, I witnessed an outdated physical style of presentation that relied heavily on stereotypical one-dimensional characterisation.

The communication of historical information floundered in technique. Visually, The Persian Revolution was initially satisfying. The slickly designed blue backdrop supported a revolving climbing frame and TV aerial on top of a tower. Enter a pristine ensemble of blue-suited players into what promised to be a thought-provoking game of human snakes and ladders. It was all very easy on the eye. But the promising design-led environment became a cumbersome obstacle course rendering the performances self-conscious and disembodied. The performers were struggling to deliver the material. The message missed its mark.

I found myself struggling too: looking for the deeper meanings but not finding them; waiting for an unveiling of information which had been promised but never came. I left the experience feeling frustrated, confused and disappointed.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Nov 2007

This article in the magazine

Issue 20-1
p. 33