Forbidden Experiment

Forbidden Experiment

Arches, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

The truth is out there - and with the Freedom of Information process on hand to open old (and sometimes darkly redacted) files, the sleuthing curiosity of the Enormous Yes company has homed in on Inchkeith. Why? Well the little island in the Firth of Forth has often sheltered gross inhumanity that justified itself as scientific experiment.

In 1493, two hapless, speechless, wee weans were isolated on Inchkeith by order of James IV of Scotland. Their only companion was a mute woman: the King was curious - would the tots talk? If so, what language? Would the word of God fall from their untutored lips? During World War Two, the British Army descended on Inchkeith - they too, apparently, were interested in language deprivation and the mechanics of communication.

Enormous Yes (Michael John O'Neill and Rob Jones) have immersed themselves in researching these, and other Inchkeith episodes, for their own experiment - a foray into mixed-media performance where music and movement are as much the conduits for thought and expression as the spoken word. As these elements criss-cross, with fantasy colliding with fact, and O'Neill's angsty poetics about a lost, loved 'she' muddled into references about wartime nuclear testing - the splitting of the atom somehow linking to the splitting of a single cell into two embryos - it's hard to know which thread to follow. Previous showings by Enormous Yes encouraged the Arches to give them a Platform 18: New Directions award. Forbidden Experiment is the over-egged, higgledy-piggledy result.