The Comet


The Teresa and Andrzej Welminski Foundation
Print Room at the Coronet

The Comet Credit: JacekMaria Stoklosa
The Comet Credit: JacekMaria Stoklosa
The Comet Credit: JacekMaria Stoklosa

The Comet takes its name from the short story of the Polish writer Bruno Shulz, but according to the programme notes it is not meant to be “a staging of the story.” Instead it is “a comment on literature, replete with endless digressions and cross references.”

In style, it harks back to the theatre of Tadeusz Kantor whose work became one of the most exciting events in the Edinburgh Festival.

A narrator sits front of stage at one of two card tables throughout the performance. In front of him is a large, ancient looking book from which he reads short extracts in English, his words for the most part being projected on to a huge back screen as members of the company perform various seemingly unconnected acts.

An imaginary electric cable is cut, plunging us into darkness; a man pulls a huge cardboard house across the stage; an old film projector is wheeled onto the stage; a group of performers wander the stage carrying stuffed or paper birds till paper rocks are thrown at them; women in black vaguely dance onto the stage waving their arms in the air and singing a wordless song.

Some of it raised a laugh but at times there was an uneasy sense of things happening that were not intended.

The show began with a man falling off a ladder that was unsupported. Later a woman acting as a clockwork doll stood atop a small table that rested on an unsecured mobile trolley that could at any moment plunge her headfirst to the stage.

Perhaps it was all part of a rough anti-theatre, things thrown together style.

Occasionally, there was a striking image such as the slow walk across the stage of two males carrying wooden canes and dressed in thick black coats and bowler hats, the second following immediately behind a huge version of himself.

But the show seemed to lack any purpose or even a director to support the apparently random acts of the cast.

It lasted sixty minutes but there is no story, no narrative, no characters, and no apparent meaning.

There is simply a gesture to a style.

And that made the sixty minutes feel a very long time.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna