The airport departure lounge: the modern nightmare designed to achieve the maximum frustration for the traveller, conceived to enhance the inconvenience experienced by those whom it was supposedly built to serve, among them the exuberant man eager to begin his holiday, the nonchalant explorer who approaches obstacles with a Zenlike calm, and the somewhat nervous business traveller who clutches his briefcase as though it will offer protection from what he is about to be caught up in.
Performing as a trio for the first time since they graced the Grassmarket’s Dancebase with MIS – Up All Night, Don Gnu are a Danish physical theatre company whose performance piece Tourist features dancers Petras Lisauskas, Jeppe Kaas Vad and Mikolaj Karczewski, each making their way through security to their terminal when their plans are disrupted by the announcement of an unexplained lockdown, all flights, buses, taxis and bicycle services cancelled.
The three men reacting to their circumstances in their own ways, one adjusting, one accepting and the other overreacting, sometimes passengers are their own worst enemies; while an inflatable pink flamingo may not be specifically prohibited, nor is it entirely reasonable to expect one to fit in an overhead locker, but power tools are most certainly on the no-fly list, as are excessive quantities of alcohol, though for the stranded passengers an immediate solution to quickly dispose of the overflow is obvious.
Using stereotypes to challenge expectations, switching roles between leader and follower, masculine and feminine, aggression and intimacy, Tourist is as much a silent movie slapstick comedy as modern dance, uneven in parts but surprising and delighting as it escalates from petty rivalry and squabbles to a big button which must never be pushed before resolving itself in a tiny tent under the starry vastness of the universe where there is a chance for peace and belonging.
Don Gnu – Tourist runs at Zoo Southside until Saturday 12th August