Bite The Dust
Teatr Provisorium and Kompania Teatr
“Fucking shit!” the four Polish soldiers shout repeatedly as they topple back and forth, crashing the giant wooden poles on their backs into the stage. These are the first words they utter and ominously describe the situation they find themselves in: alone in the woods, fighting desperately against invisible enemies and searching for some semblance of meaning in the inanities of conflict.
With Bite The Dust Polish theatre company Teatr Provisorium and Kompania Teatr have aimed to present a universal vision of the senselessness and cruelty that soldiers suffer during resistance conflict and the results are as powerful as they are bleak. The shit and grime of fighting covers their bodies, gradually eroding at their humanity. What begin as disciplined, marching figures shrouded in shadows are gradually stripped down as the absurdity of their situation is laid bare, until the CO is reduced to a hysterical chicken, breaking into fits of tears.
The staging here is perfect. A an old wooden cart provides transport and shelter, the distance and incompetence of the commander’s orders are relayed through an old gramophone, while the wooden posts strapped to the soldier’s backs represent both the forest and stakes the soldiers are bound to, waiting for their inevitable execution.
At times chunks of the script are lost in the thick Polish accents and the overall message of endurance and absurdity is one that has been heard before, but the raw imagery, blackest of humour and the poignant ending make Bite The Dust an important show to see.
Freemason’s Hall, 1 – 25 Aug (not 13), 5.00pm (6.30pm), £14.00 (£11.00), fpp 186