With all the constant political turmoil, we could all do with a break somewhere sunny and warm. Stood among inflatable palm trees and under bright warm lights, Gudrun Soley Sigurdardottir’s Elision is a tropical blend of whimsical musings and complex metaphors reflecting on immigration, Brexit, and holding on until the bitter end.
Much of the show is grounded in audience participation, and in creating a shared experience of being on stage (indeed nearly half the audience occupies it at one point) and on a more personal level, in which they were given an ice cube each to either hold or let drop to the floor. The limits of performance and the fourth wall are pushed to create an incredibly intimate performance that provokes thought. As such, it appeals to a particular kind of audience member, one who looks to be challenged. This is not a show for the passive.
Sigurdardottir’s persona (using her own name) is softly spoken but somehow persuasive and unearthly, as though she has some kind of otherworldly wisdom to offer us all – if indeed the audience can truly dissect what it is she is trying to say. In some ways that is the joy of this show, trying to unravel it. Still, what parts are not entirely clear are enjoyable in and of themselves. What makes Elision special is that the illusion is never broken; nothing is explicit, nothing is spoon fed, and the audience have to work to derive meaning from what they see on stage.
A piece clearly driven by concept and thought over narrative and character, and unapologetically so, its performance adds up to a collection of loose ends. That is by no means a bad thing, and although parts of Sigurdardottir’s vision will feel baffling and fail to connect, others are inspired and layered in their exploration of national identity.