Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

A drama studio serves as their stage and requires no further decoration, as in Enebro Teatro’s, Lorca: A Theatre Beneath the Sand, two drama students are rehearsing, exploring the poet Lorca’s passionate world, one which transgresses over and blends into the real one. Overlapping the most balletic of acrobatics with poetry, performed in both English and the original Spanish, the talent onstage is astounding. 

The piece delves into the work of the acclaimed Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, including his famously incomplete play, El público (The Audience), the two complete copies allegedly destroyed in the Spanish Civil War. An avant-garde piece, influenced by his contemporary artist, Dali, The Public explores the theme of forbidden love, based on its epitome, Romeo and Juliet. Lorca then pushes further to explore love in other forms, with man’s frustrated homosexual desire palpable throughout; a theme unrestricted to Lorca’s intense, yet playful, poetry as the two students gradually become closer between rehearsals. The distinction between the real and the fictional becomes marred. 

The two actors almost overpower the well-lit, barren stage with their striking focus. Each line is delivered with great purpose, passion and emotion. Their tension is visceral, a connection that fails to falter over the hour, the power dynamic shapeshifting throughout. The only prop, a shopping cart, is used to great effect in expressing this.

Without denigrating the obvious talent of the acrobat, it is unclear as to what this added to the piece, in one with such strong subtexts and depth, flips and pirouettes seem almost gimmicky, as if included as a display of ability more than anything else. The context is weaved into the students’ conversation, an acrobat touring the world with his shopping cart, but this is left wanting.

The accessibility of Lorca: A Theatre Beneath the Sand is somewhat limited, the piece is likely to be more fulfilling when accompanied by a background well versed in Spanish language and literature. Considered with this, whilst the multifaceted nature of the piece is to be applauded, the layering of plays and absence of clear climacteric means the performance power becomes diluted towards the end, despite Lorca drawing to a neat, symmetric close. 

The talent on stage is striking, and whilst certain elements act as a mild disservice, this is a powerful exploration of poetry, society and sexuality.