We Are Chechens!

National Film School in Lodz

Summerhall

From 03 August 2012 to 25 August 2012

Rating: ****

Review by Graeme Strachan

The Republic of Chechnya isn't the first place that usually springs to mind, even when considering the Eastern Block. Perhaps this is why the performance by Lodz National Film School feels all the more shocking, as the forgotten youth of Grozny suffer through the horrors of war and civil unrest, ignored by the rest of the world.

This part spoken, part interpretive dance piece manages to encapsulate more than just the events, but the saturating sense of being in the conflict.

Spoken almost entirely in Russian with only a smattering of English lines, the piece still manages to resound with depth and meaning as the few moment of English give a vague and ephemeral mental position for the story without ever delineating characters or trite settings.

The combination of live music and song set against the strewn detritus on stage evokes the sense of chaos while the projected imagery of surreal political action and abject horror gives a reality to the performance.

It's a stark and occasional cacophonous piece of theatre which does well to show that language barriers are not such an obstacle as might be thought.