Confused Chronicles of Aleppo at Camden People’s Theatre
A dimly lit stage and camo netting on the walls with typed pages hanging off it perfectly set the tone for what is to come. By fusing literature and performance, The Confused Chronicles of Aleppo beckons audiences to traverse the tumultuous landscapes of Turkey and Syria by following two audacious photographers, Gerard and Becky. Presented as a mixed spoken word/acted performance, this adaptation of Alessandro Onorato’s award-winning short novel – written, adapted and performed by Onorato himself – offers a peculiar sensory journey.
The talented Niccolò Bodini of La Scapigliatura adds a haunting dimension with music that sways between ethereal and thunderous, echoing the emotional depth of the events narrated, and at times perhaps even overshadowing the words. Meanwhile, Onorato guides the audience through his protagonists’ experiences and their love story: plage by page, word by word, the narrative unfolds, tracing their steps through the tumultuous events of the siege of Kobane and the battle of Aleppo.
The story is an exploration of human nature, particularly the union of love and death, where the boundaries between passion and mortality blur. However, despite Onorato’s delivery and the synergy between the music and language, there seems to be a gap between the audience and the narration that remains unfilled until the end. The lack of eye contact, for instance, though a deliberate choice due to the nature of the performance, introduces an unintended distance, leaving spectators yearning for a more direct connection with the story and its protagonists.
Overall, The Confused Chronicles of Aleppo stands as a poignant yet perplexing work. Despite the authenticity of the narrative, its elusive grasp keeps it just beyond the spectator’s complete immersion. The pages fluttering across the stage are a nice touch: they mirror the fragility of the two characters’ existence in the throes of chaos.
Confused Chronicles of Aleppo is at Camden People’s Theatre from 25th until 27th August 2023. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.