The sound of a military helicopter flying overhead signals the start of The Hospital. The performance is a tense three hander where a trio of nurses (played by Guri Glans, Gunhild Aubert Opdal and Ingri Enger Damon) are left alone in a military hospital. They amuse themselves in various ways including harming one another in order to care for each other’s wounds. The performance isn’t entirely dark, with moments of humour and comedy breaking up the tense themes that are presented throughout.
The spoken language in The Hospital is based on a devised dialect that includes a mix of Icelandic, Russian, German and English. Initially this language barrier does not get in the way of the performance. At the start The Hospital is in equal parts physical theatre and spoken dialogue. However as the show progresses The Hospital relies fully on language. This isolates the audience and creates a barrier to overcome in order to empathise and relate to the three nurses. However, the show uses this to its advantage, as we find the performers actions very difficult to comprehend. The language barrier creates an isolating, frustrating and challenging feeling that adds to bleakness of the situation.
The dance segments are beautiful and engaging. The nurses are in conversation with one another and only use their bodies as a means of communication. They dance and the movements are fully synchronised. On the other hand the set paints a bleak picture. We are in a sparse and claustrophobic hospital. To the front of the stage is an uncomfortable looking bed that is splattered in bright red blood. It is not an inviting sight. The nurses themselves are wearing bright white nurses outfits, that occasionally also get splattered in blood. The contrast in colours is jarring and make the three protagonists stand out.
The Hospital is an eerie performance. It is not dark and disgusting enough to be a horror, but it is also not as comedic or funny enough to be a dark comedy piece. The dancing and choreography is what makes the show stand out and the movement of the performers is what sticks in your head and leaves a lasting impression as the show concludes.