Leipzig Events: Sunday – Glasgow actors give intensely corporeal and emotional performance at Neues Schauspiel

Actors from Glasgow-based troupe Fear No Colours performed the play Cleansed by Sarah Kane at Neues Shauspiel in Leipzig, June 11-14.
Cleansed by Sarah Kane, performed by Fear No Colours in Leipzig. Photo by A. Ribeiro.

I can tell you that it will be “intensely corporeal and emotional” because I’ve been there and seen it. I’d never been to such an intimate, passionate and raw theater performance before this Saturday at Neues Schauspiel. And it will happen one more time, this Sunday evening, June 14, before the troupe of young actors – of great courage and maturity on stage – goes back to Scotland. They are University of Glasgow students from various disciplines who, recruited by director Julia Midtgard, came together to form the theater company Fear No Colours. It’s a very fitting name considering the extent of what they do, and allow to be done, with their bodies and the range of emotional expressions they act out, using minimal props. It’s lucky for the Leipzig theater circuit that through their connection with production manager Anna-Kathrin Lindner (a local who happens to be studying at Glasgow) and English Theatre Leipzig (of Mysterious Mr. Love fame), they have come here, even if just for a handful of performances. Hopefully they will come back.

They’re performing here Cleansed by Sarah Kane, in English. Characters are trapped in an institution, which in my interpretation could be either real or metaphorical, with the sometimes shockingly sadistic but also very human doctor Tinker (Erfan Shojanoori), who could also be real or a figment of his patients’ imagination, or they could be a figment of his. (!) They’re given injections, pills and procedures that are supposed to cure them of their addictions and mental afflictions – which could be actual drugs or illnesses, or cases of jealousy and insecurity rendering their relationships apart. However, things don’t look like they’re getting better for any of them except for the doctor himself, after he meets the angelic-looking but morally tarnished Woman (Hannah Torbitt). In the intervals of their descent into their private hell, we get a relatively quick but very intense glimpse into the relationships of Grace (Siofra Dromgoole) and Graham (Lourenco de Almeida), Carl (Sam Skoog, also the choreographer along with Sophie Lamont) and Rod (Callum Patridge), and the infatuation of Robin (Raymond Wilson) with Grace. And I’ll leave it at this, at the risk of spoiling it for you. Sit on the front row, if you can, to get the full experience. Also, I think there are a lot of possible interpretations, so you might want to stay after for the discussion session.

Their performance tomorrow starts at 8 p.m. at Neues Schauspiel. Tickets are 10€ or 8€ reduced.

Below are some photos I took at their performance Saturday night…

A Global Studies doctoral degree holder and former newspaper reporter, avid eater, pseudo-philosopher and poet, occasion-propelled singer, semi-professional socializer, movie addict, Brazilian-American nomad. In this space, she will share some of her experiences and (mis)adventures regarding various topics, with special attention to social issues.

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