‘W/hole’ is a moving performance, beautiful in its simplicity and what to the untrained eye may read as prop scarcity – buckets, shovels, stones, sand, planks of wood. The mundanity of the material is unglamourizing – nothing shines, nothing colourful steals your eye, there is no gimmick attempting to trick you.
The story follows the two and only characters – Peter and Samuel – in their effort to dig a hole. Soft lights, strategic silence, and subtle sound design surround the two as they engage in quirky antics and unpredictable, if low-key, tricks. An overall sense of the absurd looms over the act – futile attempts at fulfilling a dream, blindly chasing superlatives, hopefully shovelling imaginary sand. This is the universal absurd – the kind that reproduces itself and exists across borders and beyond personal stories, escapes fictions and inserts itself in the most mundane of situations.
We don’t find out much about Peter and Samuel, we don’t need their individual story to be able to recognize their relationship – friendship and togetherness in an arid landscape. Their warmth and humour mask their shortcomings; their candid and playful interactions keep out the dread we’d otherwise feel for their fate. They dig tirelessly, when there’s nothing to dig, when it doesn’t really make sense anymore – they unearth layer after layer of themselves, of the other, of us, the viewers, absorbed by the jokes in the show so much that we might not see the farce we’ll return to, once the show is over.
At the end of the performance, my immediate, emotional take-away was that this is a love song – a sad, shaky hymn to whatever you may choose to love and chase; a song that prompts an equally sad and majestic dance – with yourself, with the other, with the sand you’ve dug out of a non-existing hole. Peter and Samuel move on, to a bigger, darker challenge – the mark of restless souls, who would give up the only thing that exists for certain, charmed by the colossal unknown that might make them whole.
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