May 21 2015 | By More

✭✭✭✭✩    Paper cut

Assembly Roxy: Wed 20/Thurs 21 2015

Unfolded and pressed out flat for its audience to see, Faux Theatre’s Torn is an intriguing glimpse at how repressed memories both haunt and return to us.

Francisca Morton’s wordless performance is brought to the stage with composer and foley artist Barney Strachan creating much of her soundtrack live. Indeed, he has his own part of the stage: a constantly visible, as well as audible, presence.

Francisca Morton. Photo: Faux Theatre

Francisca Morton. Photo: Faux Theatre

Before Morton has even been seen he puts on high heels and treads through a gravel tray. He creates the sounds of steps coming down the road, up a flagstone path, rattling keys, clicking locks and slamming the door.

Morton’s character may have arrived on stage at this point, but she still has much to divest herself of. An improbable succession of outer garments are flung over a screen before she peeks out from behind it.

And what she peeks into is a home strewn with paper. Paper scrumpled up into balls and thrown into the bath until it is overflowing, like a solid bubble bath. Paper flattened out and piled up everywhere – leaning precariously from shelves, squashed under tables, always encroaching on the room itself.

She walks into it in her big comfy pyjamas like a knowingly naughty toddler. Always aware of her audience as if she were asking whether what she is doing is all right. It’s the glance of a clown, one which liberates her to bask in the memories on her myriad sheets of paper as she soaks in the bath, or picks up to iron flat and add to the piles.

When ironed, most relinquish their crinkles with a tinkling little tune, but some bring a heart beat. These she shuns and tries to hide, but still they come. Still a memory encroaches, bursting onto the stage like an over-full box of popcorn, dropped and spilled and lost during an illicit fumble at a Saturday matinee at the flicks.

playing with form

Through it all, Strachan’s presence is a reminder that the whole is not just theatre, but an illusion. Even the sound of what happens on stage is manufactured. The question is where the illusion stops.

It’s this playing with form that makes this such an intriguing piece of work. When a phone rings we know it isn’t a real phone as Strachan can be seen creating the noise with an egg whisk and a glass. Which somehow makes it quite logical for Morton to fashion the phone out of a piece of paper plundered from the bath.

In terms of direct narrative it feels rather sparse, there could be room for creative assistant Melanie Jordan to help bring out more of an arc from what sometimes feels a bit too much like a succession of clever ideas.

But the real narrative here is to be unpicked in the layers of presentation and the complex interweaving of form. With Shona Reppe as design consultant, there is sense of the fastidious attention to detail. All beautifully lit by Laura Hawkins.

The drama of the whole piece is foreshadowed by a paper sculpture of wedding dress by the ticket desk. Looking at on the way into the show, it’s a rather clever artwork made of recycled paper. On leaving, however, it has gained new resonances.

Running time 50 minutes
Assembly Roxy, 2 Roxburgh Place, Edinburgh EH8 9SU
Wednesday 20 -Thursday 21 May 2015
Evenings 7.30pm.
Details from:

Torn on tour 2015:
Thurs 20 – Fri 21 May Edinburgh
Assembly Roxy
Book online
Sat 23 May Aberdeen
The Lemon Tree
01224 641122 Book online
Thurs 28 May Easterhouse
0141 276 9696 Book online
Fri 29 May Cumbernauld
Cumbernauld Theatre
01236 732 887 Book online
Sat 30 May St Andrews
The Byre Theatre
01334 475000 Book online
June 4 Estonia
TREFF Festival
Details online
Thurs 11 – Sat 13 June Glasgow
Tron Theatre
0141 552 4267 Book online
Weds 17 June Kirkcaldy
Adam Smith Theatre
01592 583302 Book online
Weds 24 June Dundee
Dundee Repertory Theatre
01382 223530 Book online


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