Words: Chloe Shimmin
A man’s white vest top spills red with blood. He realizes his impending death as his eyes glaze over and he clutches his stomach, falls to his knees and then to the floor. “See you in hell, motherfucker” his killer says, holding the barrel of a gun.
The two men laugh and reset at the back of the stage for another round of killing. Again, and again and again, the actors take turns to pretend to kill each other shouting “See you in hell, motherfucker!” in as many ways as they can. And every killing is different, unique in its own way: guns, swords, fists…any way you can imagine a death in an action movie and Stuntman has it covered.
But we aren’t in an action movie: what we are watching is a physical exploration of two men exploring male violence and aggression. It begins lightly, with a playful sense of fighting. Red and blue lights shine towards the audience. We see the mechanics of the piece, with stage combat visible along with the props set up at the back of the stage.
The trust between the two actors, Sadiq Ali and David Banks is clear from their non-verbal communication on stage and from their openness to share their personal stories of their relationship with violence which takes Stuntman to a darker place.
Dispersed between the physical deaths, both men tell stories, describing experiences that have shaped them. Sadiq shares a harrowing and awful story of a homophobic attack and then reinvents the narrative, imagining what could have happened had the situation played out differently.
In a beautiful exploration of touch between two men that is neither violent or sexual, Stuntman ends with a physical theatre sequence that is the most moving part of the show.
Beneath the surface of a boyish fantasy of playing out their parts in an action movie, this show is an exploration of men’s relationship with violence from youth to adulthood and should be shared with as many young men as possible.
Summerhall, Tech Cube
6-25 Aug (not 7, 14, 21)