Arches Live 2014

Arches Live 2014

Arches, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

The final weekend of Arches Live 2014 was a reminder of how some vital, ground-breaking work is not at home in main-stream venues: pieces like Privates or Lost in Transition need intimate spaces.

Lost in Transition - written and directed by Mona Bozdog (from Romania), performed by Nikolette Thoma (from Greece) - comes when immigration is a flashpoint for social and political schism. In a long, thin room in the Arches basement - the floor taped into a hopscotch bed, the set a scattering of furniture - Thoma took us succinctly through Bozdog's past.

However this is not just her personal history, it's also Romania's. Within the family anecdotes and factual asides are her reasons for migrating. So too are the realities of being a voiceless stranger in another country. Thought-provoking, affecting and yet unhistrionic - which was also true of FMIN's Privates where a basement oasis put lone participants in touch, literally, with Amy Cameron.

Low lighting, the sound of lapping water, the gentle massaging of hands, the soft voice-over recalling her childhood memories: for 15 minutes, this calming, meditative closeness soothed seething brain cells and reef-knotted shoulders.

Max Powers Says... offered other 'unlocking' strategies, with Thomas Hobbins striding on as the self-help guru who is a master of manipulation, though Hobbins's creation would call it motivation. Suave, avuncular, slick - but under the high-achiever veneer, is another Max, lost and uncertain.

That's the tightrope Hobbins negotiates here, surrendering the swagger for glimpses of a wistful inner child - probably Max Powers' cleverest manipulation of us yet.

Emilia Weber and Claire Healy send you out looking at the city-scape and its architecture with fresh eyes. Their illustrated lecture-cum-performance is called There They Carved A Space, a concept that ranges from the history of 'common' ground to social housing policies and the ownership of land because 'space is politics', a fascinating foray into the 'politics of space'. And that, really, is Arches and Arches Live in a nutshell.