There’s something beautifully uplifting about the Tron Theatre’s Earwig series: a season of ‘sonic theatre’ by some of Scotland’s leading playwrights, created for this stay-at-home age and directed by the continually surprising Finn den Hertog.
The Deadlift by Stef Smith introduces us to two women who lift weights. Ashley Smith is a seasoned practitioner, whereas Renee Williams is finding her feet (or rather, her reverse grip). Both are there to escape their version of life outside the gym; both are there because they can’t control much in their lives – but they can control how they hold onto the bar and move the weights up and down. There’s something hypnotic and evocative about the accompanying sound design, created by Danny Krass, accompanied by a mesmerising percussion performance from Alon Ilsar that somehow summons the sound of bones, blood, and muscle knitting together to lift and extend.
Hannah Lavery‘s There is still something yet to discover (or Baba Yaga comes to you – when you are sleeping) is a tribute to the pull – or pangs – of motherhood. This mother has spied the ‘ferocious-looking old woman’ (often found living in the chicken-legged hut) and wonders whether she’s always been there or the past year with its strangenesses has awakened her maybe malevolent mind. This sonic play is performed by Sharon Duncan-Brewster and singer/songwriter Kathryn Joseph, featuring fairytale-worthy foley and original music by Krass and Julia Reidy.
Johnny McKnight’s Tikka features Robbie Jack trying to muster the courage to declare his feelings for the man he’s been cooking curry for, courtesy of his support bubble, since the early days of the pandemic. Meantime, his maw (Ann Louise Ross) questions his dish (‘you can’t go wrong wi’ a pot o’ soup’), his weight, and his approach to his prospective partner. The skippy quick dialogue is nicely intertwined with a guitar instrumental from Krass that adds just the right dose of wistful to the recipe.
Each play is less than fifteen minutes in length and whisks you a world away from your kitchen table. Amidst our curtailed pandemic world, these characters resolutely, defiantly, carry on with life – a note of hope from the Tron and its team.