(Originally published here)
Cecilia Nilsson (‘Wallander’) stars in this phenomenal insight into the simplicity and painstaking cleanliness of solitary life, leading us gently through what should be an ordinary evening in a manner that is both heart-breakingly dignified and technically brilliant.
The venue looks like a shopfront and is easy to miss amongst the mess of tramway construction and the prospect of an hour-long silent play originally from 1970s Germany sounds more than a little daunting. The tiny little red office at the top of a language school is converted to a bedsit, the home of Miss Rasch: the Swedish woman who lives alone and appears to live for a weekly request programme on the radio. The music and the accompanying dialogue from the radio underscore the already beautifully alive and captivating sequences of everyday life: eating, undressing, cleaning, trying to sleep. The attention paid to every last detail of the mundane is what makes Nilsson’s performance so captivating, and the final minutes of the piece all the more profound.
Nilsson never falters from her calm and precise journey through what appear to be easy tasks, chores that belie a secret heartache underneath her stony-faced exterior. Rasch is lonely and it feels a little like it is our fault – I rushed to ring up relatives of mine who live alone after seeing the show – when we are faced with pure banalities at such close quarters. Flickers of unnatural lighting and the odd self-referential gesture make us uncomfortably aware of our own complicity with the very aggressive isolation that Rasch experiences; we are never allowed to sink into a state of separated voyeurism – we are very much involved.
This intimate piece is an absolute must-see, a heart-wrenching dive into the most human and inescapable of experiences. There is limited availability at the venue (there are only ten or so seats a night) so early booking is advised.