Adventures in Black and White at Camden People’s Theatre
The pain of life in exile: what is it like to be displaced, without a way home? Such is the theme of Double Trouble’s Adventures in Black and White, playing at Camden People’s Theatre. Opening the show, an imaginary conversation between the two characters, Lilly (Miriam Gould) and Stasys (Judita Vivas) is indirect, creating a picture of their loss through fragments of feeling, words and images, their evasiveness illustrating the women’s discomfort with their plight.
One in Sussex, the other in Siberia, the exiled are migrants in the 1930s who grow up, grow old and subsequently become their granddaughters, illustrating the generational impact of losing one’s roots and identity. Using storytelling, metaphor, sound, intriguing visuals and representations, improvisation, language, physicality and humour, the piece expressively evokes the emotions of being uprooted, lost, trying to cement selfhood from fragments of lives.
A particularly timely topic, migration is so often an involuntary response to war and devastation. What is generally gleaned from the media – classic mental images of crowds carrying whatever possessions they could salvage, boats full of women and children, young males jumping fences and massive refugee camps – are here transformed into the poignancy of individual experiences and feelings.
Vivas and Gould are themselves granddaughters of immigrants, and the play is inspired by and based on their grandmothers’ diaries. The former’s ancestors were exiled from Lithuania to Siberia by the Russians, and the latter’s family escaped from Vienna to the United States while fleeing the Nazis.
Physical action using props, facial expressions and movement ingeniously expresses the stories of lost children and brave souls as are described in these recorded memories. The simple set highlights these elements, while inventive and impassioned acting by both performers brings their grandmothers’ recollections and sentiments to life.
An unusual and thoughtful work, Adventures in Black and White presents a quirky, innovative, amusing, entertaining, very moving and enlightening experience.
Photo: Nina Carrington
Adventures in Black and White is at Camden People’s Theatre from 24th October until 26th October 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.