I’m still in awe of the the tiny pockets of space created in London which allows artists to bring a ferocious challenge to us, Forgiving (My Mother) is no exception to this magic. The show feels like director Anna Udras moulded it in the tiny basement space of The Glitch in Lower Marsh and it was a delectable suspension of time and space.
The performance felt as if it was made for that intimate basement space. It was stripped down to its bare bones making us, the audience, feel like voyeurs encroaching on a vulnerable moment in time shared by the two (three) actors on stage. I felt instantly drawn in and as soon as I found a pattern in the performance, the show pulled me out of my comfort zone. The show forced me to face my expectations of what theatre is and what theatre can do for us.
Forgiving (My Mother) follows a framing device of two actors working through a script about two sisters who have just shared a difficult dinner with their mother. Then the play takes a meta approach, we see layers of performance fold into itself focusing on forgiveness, determinism and theatre itself. What begins as a witty and aloof start ends in a deeper moment of reflection and existentialism.
I loved how deliberately undecided the performance felt, the line between performance and reality was permeable. I found myself constantly playing catch up trying to determine whether the actors were in fact ‘acting’ or breaking the fourth wall. Honestly, it’s not always done well. Meta-theatre can express an undeserved superiority over the audience. However, I didn’t feel that in Forgiving (My Mother), the audience was in on the joke, or more so, the audience was a part of the performance. Our presence felt integral to the discussion happening on stage. Of course, that is the point of theatre, performance is only counted as such when it’s performed but something about Forgiving (My Mother) made me feel as if we were compelling the show to go on. It was an incredible way to build intimacy and trust.
As the show built to its peak, I began to find the story retracted in on itself. I thought it demonstrated a wonderful summary of its central topics; determinism, forgiveness and reconciliation, but it fell short of completion. Truthfully, 50 minutes might have been too short of a time to fully explore it. For that reason, I didn’t feel the full spectrum of closure as the show began to end. I wanted the piece to delve a bit further into the human emotion which is the base of any philosophy and art we create. In other words, I wanted more.
However, this was the first performance by the artistic trio and I was blown away by the evident care put into the art. Udras, Emilia Nurmukhamet, Pat Dynowska brought such a gentle love for this performance and a clear sense of pride. Which is well deserved. I look forward to seeing what comes next for this dynamic group and I eagerly await my next trip to the wonderful pocket of space that is The Glitch’s theatre.
Recommended Drink: This one was a tough choice, but Forgiving (My Mother) would be best enjoyed with a warming cup of mulled wine. Sweet yet sharp.
Performances of Forgiving (My Mother) have now concluded. You can read our interview with the creators here.