Homecoming: Station Stories

Nov 27 2014 | By More

✭✭✭✩✩    Jewels of narrative

Glasgow Queen Street Station, Wed 26-Sat 29 Nov and tour

Enigmatic and ethereal, the four Station Stories curated and presented by Sven Werner for Theatre Cryptic at a trio of railway stations, worm their way into the traveller’s imagination.

Cordoning off a small segment of the station near the departure gates, Werner and his helpers set up a pair of Victorian viewing devices as his auditoria. These archaic story machines are not quite theatre, more an immersive installation, but they are very close.

Sven Werner with assistant. Cryptic's Station Stories. Photo: Thom Dibdin

Sven Werner with assistant. Cryptic’s Station Stories. Photo: Thom Dibdin

Under cover of an old photographer’s black cloth, his audience – one at a time at each device – squint down into an eyepiece while listening to one of Werner’s collected stories, delivered in a stern, faintly North American accent.

Here are stories of the weather. Two minute tales of the wind up on the north coast of Scotland that blows away the midges – and other things; Of being out fishing on the North Sea in the deep dark of a winter’s night when the wind calms, leaving the ocean as flat as a pond – and the sky lit up like phosphor.

Each tale is accompanied by a judiciously chosen soundtrack. A tale of travelling to a wedding on Eigg in a storm after the last ferry has sailed has music with hypnotic, inbuilt tension that works up into a frenzy of dislocation and dissonance, reminiscent of a chain-saw rock-out from Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds.

Like all great short stories – and these are brilliantly brief lasting between two minutes and five – these are all about creating atmosphere. They take the listener to a precipitous edge of the narrative, there to remain: wondering whether the narrator – now departed – jumped into the unknown of simply strolled back home for a cup of hot tea by the fire.

According to Werner, they are all true. It feels wrong to give a five-minute experience anything other than three stars, but if you just happen to be passing through Queen Street, Aberdeen or Waverley stations when Sven is there, they are certainly worth stopping for, and taking a slightly later train.

Homecoming: Station Stories
Glasgow: Queen Street Station.
Wednesday 26-Saturday 29 November 2014. 11am-7pm
Aberdeen Station
Wednesday 3-Saturday 6 December 2014. 11am-7pm
Edinburgh: Waverley Station
Wednesday 10 – Saturday 13 December 2014. 11am-7pm

Further Details on the Cryptic website: http://www.cryptic.org.uk/station-stories/

Homecoming: Station Stories is part of Homecoming Scotland.


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