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At your house, Brite Theater
Another night on Friday and what to do? That’s the question of those who, after Covid pushed them into solitary confinement more than seven months ago, have longed for a life outside their front door. The welcome mat for this intimacy exercise created by director Kolbrún Björt Sigfúsdóttir and her Leith-based Brite Theater Company can be spread out for the time being, at least, by audiences in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The play begins with a hand-delivered package containing magazine-like instructions designed to guide you through a series of everyday rituals that are usually taken for granted. Along an experience of your own making, this suggests various sense memories, personal soundtracks, and other quirky survival strategies for the age of self-isolation. This results in a gentle form of self-reflection. Depending on how you react to it as an audience member and solo entertainer, there is also the possibility of at least celebrating.
Conceived by Sigfúsdóttir and her cohorts as a happening for one, Deliverance becomes a role-playing meditation on the relationship between public, private and secret selves and the performative nature of each. Only a fleeting detour into amateur psychology distracts from this central idea.
As with the ongoing avalanche of digital activity plugging the empty void where live events used to be, no one pretends that this is some kind of replacement. Brite Theater and their producers at the theater company Vanishing Point understand this best. As an alternative to Netflix and the like, however, Deliverance is a potentially enlightening way to pass the time.
As something that used to lure curious viewers into confined spaces where they could feel their own breath, it also taps into the desire to participate in something rather than remain a passive spectator. If Deliverance works best when left to its own devices, then what you take away from it behind closed doors is equally its own business.