Half Remembered Dreams
From 03 August 2012 to 27 August 2012
Review by Graeme Strachan
Against a back-projection screen, a solitary girl sits in full traditional dress and tells the story of Qin Shi Huang, First Emperor of unified China, and the construction of the awesome tomb in which he was interred.
The girl, More Light, is one of the Emperor's handmaidens, and she slowly delineates the wonder of the building and opulent procession into the inner sanctum with the corpse of the Emperor before being sealed inside.
This interpretation of Bryony Lavery's play has been well accomplished, with the initial solo piece lulling the audience into one mind state, leading to slight surprise when the second act of the piece continues with the full cast of handmaidens and charting their descent into cannibalism, murder and madness.
The piece is acted well, in an accomplished mixture of standard dramatic acting and measured interpretive movement. The slight downfall of the piece, inherent to the text, is the final scenes, and an unfortunately gruff turn by the sole male actor, whose barked delivery made most of his lines indecipherable.
Otherwise this is a fascinating piece by an intriguing new company.