Review: The Grand Scheme of Things – Clare Louise Roberts

Show: The Grand Scheme of Things
Venue: Underbelly Cowgate
Star rating: ****
Reviewer: Clare Louise Roberts

It is scary to face the realities of the world. However in theatre we can do that relatively safely; which seems to be the thought process of duo Kopfkino, in this show which is both liberating and important to see.

Nic is the man who sees himself in all of history and in everything and Flora is the scapegoat who is silenced. We learn how she lost her voice. For now; Nic speaks and Flora’s voice is a silent projection on a screen behind the two actors. Her words are sometimes hidden from view by Nic’s movements, creating a powerful, heartbreaking image. 

The dialogue of this stylistic script is very fast moving and Nic is full of energy and speed. Sometimes the text on the screen is dramatically lost before we can read it, until one sentence is all we need to continuously look at in the background as their argument develops.

It is uncomfortable and infuriating to watch a young woman be gaslighted, even on a stage. The Grand Scheme of Things depicts scapegoating so accurately that it’s painful to watch. 

Flora sits on a high stool and Nic stands, circling her – the space is his as far as he knows, as he gives an insincere apology that he twists to patronisingly blame her for his own affections. In a so-classic-it’s-textbook rendition of victim shaming, Nic passive aggressively calls Flora rude and a liar for not reciprocating his romantic feelings for her.

Full of visually powerful staging, the play evokes elements of Waiting For Godot. In the same way, as an audience we are only given an idea of an answer and a hint of release towards the second half.

Flora’s passionate monologue is cathartic for everyone. She brilliantly emotes the timeline of women’s history, using modern news references and inverting female language. The poetic script is electrifying to the senses and this is it’s beautiful, heart-breaking climax.

We see the male’s testament unravel and the female version of events boldly rise up to no longer be squashed but to be heard. Each character fights for their story to be told, eventually opening up the void up to an unknown future.

It’s a manifesto that is a bit preachy at times but can be forgiven for being so, thanks to it’s lyrical script and staging. It’s important that in 2019, a show like The Grand Scheme of Things is here in the UK.

The Grand Scheme of Things: tickets available here
Underbelly Cowgate
21-25 August
1.40pm (1 hour)

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