If, as … and Stranger in the Corridor.
Yesterday, I went and saw two short plays by Mammad Aidani. Directed and Designed by Lloyd Jones, at La Mama Theatre, Melbourne.
These two short plays currently on at La Mama (until 19 September) are written by Mammad Aidani, Iranian born playwright and academic. While critics like, Geoffrey Williams, have lucidly reviewed these plays l believe that there is a strong assumption that it is about the 'the refugee experience.' For me these two plays are about the displacement of the subject, of difference and sameness. We are forced to recognise something that is unrecognisable - the precarious self. It is about how violence, (self inflicted or otherwise) , trauma, oppression, and war undermine our subjectivity and make it impossible for us to move towards recognition of the Other. It is this misrecognition that structures our fears in our encounters with the other and with our own unconsciouse.
The director, Llyod Jones' V-shaped corridor powerfully brings the intensity of the emotions evoked in the performance. The enclosed corridor does not bring us any closer to recognition of the other or even a closeness with the other. This is the paradox: close proximity does not bring recognition or any real closeness or familiarity with the other. It is not the subjectivity of the other that brings recognition but rather recognition of our own motives, fears and an authentic encounter with our unconscious - this is how affective recognition and compassion of the other can be approached.
There are many ways of interpreting and seeing this play. This is the power of theatre and Aidani's text is powerful and complex to tease our intellect and imagination.