Third Day at The Fringe [13th Aug]
Two Destination Language present “Near Gone”, in the demonstration room at Summer Hall. A clinical space with steeply tiered seating packed in a tight semi-circle around the performance area. Katherina Radeva and Alister Lownie take the audience with them on a ritual of love, grief and celebration. They tell a story in two parts, jumping between two languages. A demonstration as such, in tone with the space designed for objective and analytic viewing. It begins cold, stop-start and clunky and suddenly transforms into an emotional, wrenching piece that exhausts everyone in that demonstration room. This transformation occurs as Lownie speaks from his own experience, discarding the official translater façade, bringing warmth and sensitivity to the piece. As the narrative resolves I question why I am dragged through this trauma when everything is actually ok, but, drawn from autobiography I can perhaps forgive them of that. The element of urgency and necessity in ridding themselves of the emotion experienced to the point of exhaustion gives the piece purpose. Notions of culture, language and communication differences are highlighted throughout, balanced by fleeting tender and loving gestures or eye contact that exist between the real couple. White Carnations lay along each side of the floor space bringing with them a sense of foreboding and undertones of death, particularly as their regular lines are destroyed bunch by bunch by Radeva as she exorcises her pain in a frantic, boisterous dance to Bulgarian music. “Near Gone” is incredibly moving but leaves a feeling of unease. It is not beautiful, it works only once, but whatever it is, it is powerful and draining.