La Merda

La Merda

Arches, Glasgow

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Mary Brennan

Here's a piece that makes you want to run for the hills, hands clamped over ears, blocking out the sound of Silvia Gallerano's gut- wrenching yowlings and rising hysteria.

But even as this wish is formulating in your head, your thoughts - your nerve-ends, your psyche - have already been flayed and blistered by what Gallerano's strangulated tones have spewed out into the dark-lit space.

Everything is laid bare here: Gallerano is herself naked - marooned on a high plinth, hair in child-like bunches on top of her head, mouth a gash of red lipstick in a white face.

That mouth will twist and girn, spread into a rictus smile, droop into a tormented silence as she voices an unrelenting, exposing text by Christian Ceresoli.

Three unnerving monologues - The Thighs, The Dick and The Fame - revolve around a mix of extreme self-loathing, fantastical aspirations (to be a TV celebrity, despite her lack of height and over-abundance of thigh) and a wistful passivity tied into her nostalgia for the daddy who died when she was 13.

A pattern of abuse soon emerges: sexual, for sure, but also betrayals of trust coupled with the corrosion of innocence - maybe daddy wasn't so squeaky-clean and benign after all.

"You've got to have a lot of courage" is one of her reiterated mantras, as if bad things happen and you just have to get on with it.

The piece ends with her wan singing of the Italian national anthem, ensuring all the elements of Ceresoli's political satire click into place - no point in putting your country on a pedestal if the truth, like Gallerano, is mired in moral dysfunction and dodgy dreams.