Doppler: Grid Iron theatre company document the story so far
Edinburgh-based theatre company Grid Iron decided to adapt the satirical novel Doppler (by Norwegian author Erlend Loe) for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2020. After much work and several adjustments made to adhere to Covid restrictions, it seemed that the play could be performed live in August 2020. Sadly, the late summer run could not go ahead, and the company had no choice but to opt for their plan B: a filmed version of the production.
Adapted and directed by Ben Harrison, Doppler tells the story of a man who leaves behind the materialistic world and goes to live in the woods. He connects with a baby elk and gets on with his life amidst nature, but he must deal with the effects of the isolation he sought and the challenges of reinventing a new way to live. Keith Fleming, Itxaso Moreno and Sean Hay provide the performances, with sound by composer David Pollock. Everyone involved contributes to the creation of an atmospheric, fable-like mood that promises an even more magical experience when the show finally takes place in front of a live audience.
Doppler: The Story So Far presents scenes from the filmed version and alternates them with interviews with the cast and production team. It details the practical challenges and emotional rollercoaster of the entire process, from the inception of the project all the way to the disappointments that were swiftly followed by the inventiveness of keeping the show alive while the company waited to present it in its intended form. The documentary also includes snippets of Zoom rehearsals and meetings that give an idea of how they had to adapt to a wholly new way of working together.
The sense of frustration in the face of curbed creativity makes the artists’ testimony powerful. In addition, what renders the documentary particularly touching is the fact that the themes of the play itself are linked with the problems of modern day life, some of which have become more apparent during the pandemic. An urgent and melancholy love letter to live theatre, Doppler: The Story So Far documents this moment in history from the theatre-makers’ perspective with grace and feeling.
Doppler: The Story So Far is available to stream for free from 26th March until midnight on Sunday 9th May. For further information visit Grid Iron’s website here.