Theatre review: Histoire D’Amour
Edinburgh International Festival Scotsman review: Histoire D’Amour at King’s Theatre, reviewed by Joyce McMillan
If art and technology is a key theme of the festival, then it’s easy to understand why director Jonathan Mills has issued a return invitation to Teatrocinema of Chile, who first delighted Edinburgh audiences back in 2010. Director Juan Carlos Zagal’s technique involves placing the company’s live actors between screens on which are projected a stunning series of giant graphics and animations, sometimes in motion, sometimes static, sometimes evoking the cityscape through which the characters move, and sometimes expressing their explosive inner states.
The problem here, though, is that all this creative brilliance has been placed at the service of a sickening 105-minute monologue in which a male psychopath describes at length how he becomes obsessed with a woman called Sofia, stalks, terrorises, and repeatedly rapes her, and finally beats her into a silent submission in which she spends the rest of her life.
The two actors, Julian Marras and Bernardita Montero turn in immaculate and brave performances; and of course, everyone who has ever been in love has glimpsed some tiny part of the obsessive madness of the central character.
The utter passivity, limpness and silence of the woman, though, reduces many sequences of this show to little more than a sub-pornographic treat for those who enjoy watching women terrified and abused. And not all the haunting film-noir artistry of the graphics and imagery can redeem Zagal’s show from what seems like a dangerously ambivalent perspective on the horrific sexual violence it describes; a perspective in which women have no voice at all.
MORE INFO: Histoire D’Amour at King’s Theatre until 17 August
Originally published in The Scotsman