Can I Start Again Please (2016), Traverse Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Sue MacLaine Company
Sue MacLaine (Director) Jonathan Burrows (Choreographer), Lucy Bradridge (Set and Costume), Brian Duffy, Mark Schofield, Sue MacLaine and Nadia Nadarajah (Translation team), Jane McMorrow Producer.
Sue MacLaine, Nadia Nadarajah
Running time

The ability to 'tell' something is facilitated through the use of language, however the cognitive processes required to understand what is being told cannot depend solely on the amalgamation of letters, phrases and stops presented before you. Through the marriage and juxtaposition of the English language and British Sign Language, Sue MacLaine's award winning contemporary piece Can I Start Again Please deconstructs what it is to articulate a traumatic experience.

Although dressed alike, and appearing to follow the same unraveling script, MacLaine and her companion's translations do not always seem to match. With signer Nadia Nadarajah gesticulating the tale simultaneously it becomes apparent that the subtext of a phrase requires more attention than the words themselves. Within each word is an emotive intention that can be forgotten upon the simple utterance of said word, vindicating silence as speaking a thousand words.

Visually engulfed by the written word, notebooks, quote cards and concertinaed script pages surround the pair as they attempt to say everything and nothing. Turning to her own devastating past, child abuse comes to the forefront of MacLaine and Nadarajah's performance, evoking a plethora of unanswered questions. Unanswered simply because words cannot clarify the harrowing effects of abuse, regardless of age.

Wittgenstein said "whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent", here quoted as a not-so-wise hypothesis, which throughout the course of MacLaine's didactic demotion of the spoken word revokes power to the silence of trauma, gifting its lack of articulation with the vastest of explanations.

Running until October 1st
Tickets £16.50 (£13.50 concession)