Mette Edvardsen / Katrina Brown & Rosanna Irvine

Tramway, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

four stars

Two performances: very different in their process, content and physicality - and yet they share a compelling invitation to look beyond immediate images and actions, and muse on the nature of presence and absence and transience. In Black, Mette Edvardsen, walks into the bare space of Tramway 4 and begins the re-iterative intoning of words that  conjure up objects and incidents. ”Tabletabletabletable” she says, her hands traveling across an invisible surface. “Chairchairchairchair” - she glances upstage. Bit by bit she maps her territory, rhythmically naming the everyday components of a spartan room, a life shared only with a plant and a dog. Long before the end of her 25 minute solo, your imagination is colouring in the details, even creating a back story for her verbal OCD traits. Afterwards, your mind pops with a heightened awareness of how language delivers tangible identity to what we didn’t see.
Meanwhile, for ‘what remains and is to come’ in Tramway 1, Katrina Brown & Rosanna  Irvine used white paper, charcoal, their bodies and choreographed breath, to explore the metaphysical nuances of “making your mark”. The floor is already patterned with blocks of charcoal sworls when the women begin their ritual of preparation. Laying out regimented lines of charcoal sticks, crushing them underfoot, fluttering the dust across the paper with their breath before working it into a flat surface with methodical hands. Stripped naked, they move into phases of lying, rolling, squirming, on the various charcoal canvasses. Soon after, they blank out the marks. Over and over, it’s as if time is being compressed. As if countless generations had transited those surfaces, left traces, then disappeared - leaving only the charcoal holding memories of their sweat. Time and actions do leave their mark, however - both women have been rendered piebald. Their final footsteps on white paper are both epitaph and promise: the ephemeral lives on in our memories.