Traum – ShopFront Theatre

Last night I saw (the cleverly titled) Traum in Coventry’s ShopFront Theatre. It is one man’s story of his experience of migration. Whilst its current resonances may be particular and thereby more profound for some, there was also something universal in the articulation of the importance of our sense of self to drive us, of the significance of our dreams to help us live (and the trauma of the loss of dreams). Chris O Connell’s text and the soundtrack were vital structures but my attention was on the sensed aesthetic of the physical text: the voice of the piece was all in the body. Through abstracted, literal or symbolic, heightened whole body movement, the alter ego physically interwove with the protagonist. As we sat still in our seats internalising our responses to the physicality, I was particularly conscious that the directness of such physical dialogue as a relational medium of communication, is often overlooked, and particulalry in school teaching. In talking to the actors afterwards I was aware again of their heightened attunement to physical expression, in their need to move as they spoke to express themselves – albeit in more limited, socially acceptable degrees. Movement is an instinct which for them, could not be wholly suppressed. One of the actors spoke of the need to move, dance – whole body physicality – during his lunch hours whilst working temporarily in an office job in order to feel OK. Imagine how different the response and dialogue to such experiences might be if we could move and talk, or move to talk (instead perhaps) – to help us engage with others about the things that matter to us. How might this effect our understanding and sense of connection? …. Richard Hayhow (Open Theatre) and Highly Sprung Performance Company this is your medium and forte – could you start the trend in Coventry?

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