The Taiwan Season at Summerhall brings us this Taiwanese masterpiece from the company Our Theatre. Delusion Of Home, directed by Jhao-Cian Wang and written by Cheng-Ping Hsu, is the poetic and musical 360 ° theatre experience that is needed to shake up British Theatre right now.
This play uses storytelling alongside live music, documentary footage, photographs and projections to open up the possibilities of what theatre can be. From the very beginning, the actors and performers, In-Ta Chen, Pen-Chieh Yu and Cheng-Ping Hsu, ask us to question our reality and our own delusions by constructing the set as they begin. We are being lured into a delusion, one that we, sitting in a theatre, buy into.
Delusion of Home is what the photographer I-Tsend Chuang names his documentary and photography series about abandoned homes along the south-western coast of Taiwan. This play takes us through the story of migration without showing an immigrant narrative down our throats. Hsu uses the familiar character of King Lear to add comedy to the life of an oyster farmer. The piece is brought together with monologues about the movements of poorer women from Indonesia and Vietnam to the villages in Taiwan to become oyster farmers. The passionate storytelling grips us so that when the images of the abandoned homes and villages are shown on the screen and amongst Taoist funeral rites, it is the audience that has lost its home too.
The characters in this piece are aware they are performing and have their own understanding of the play/documentary they are taking part in. Each actor has an opportunity at the end, to engage with the material.
My only gripe with this piece is the subtitles. Not knowing the language and having to keep looking at the subtitles makes it near impossible to keep up with everything going onstage. And trust me, there is a lot to take in.
The theatre company Our Theatre, focuses on folk culture and common people and is devoted to experimentation, and brings with it a new form of theatre to the British Stage. Delusion Of Home is a must see for anyone bored of the traditional theatre scene in the UK.
Delusion Of Home is playing Summerhall as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival until 26 August. For further information and tickets, click here.
Photo: Our Theatre