Cia Ignifuga – A House is Not A Home – Bell Square:
Walking into Hounslow’s’ Bell Square on Saturday night, I was immediately drawn to the large transparent house, which looked rather out of place in this very ordinary looking square. However, the people of Hounslow are becoming more accustomed to strange events transforming their town as every fortnight from June until December international visiting artists, as part of Bell’s Square Arts Festival introduce them to a range of completely different theatrical experiences.
For this particular event, the audience drifted in and took their seats donning headphones excitedly waiting for the performance to begin. The audience was particularly representative of the diverse local community, one man told me he had never been to the theatre before but had seen every show to date.
A House is Not A Home is an adaptation of Interior, a moving play by Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck. Performed by Catalan Company Cia Ignifuga who are touring internationally for the first time.
Inside the house we see a pregnant woman who welcomes her brother and friends into her home to celebrate her birthday, the headphones provide a soundtrack, which allows the audience to eavesdrop on their lives. We are invited to witness the joy, the fun and the intimacy of their relationships. I was very absorbed in this visual feast, which by shutting out the noise of being outdoors cleverly draws the audience into the world of the residents.
However, despite the plays skilled delivery, I am still questioning the necessity of the introduction of the narrative in the latter part, in which the happiness of these young people’s lives is broken as we witness the arrival of a couple in a car. The audience is able to hear the couple in the car talking about how they should deliver the tragic news of the untimely death of the expectant woman’s partner. As they tell us, “Misfortune is shrouded in details moments before life is shattered” and appallingly this home is to become an inhospitable place, that will never be the same again.
Having been so captivated with the activity within the house I felt the spell was somewhat broken as the conveying of the cataclysmic news whilst necessary was so heavily drawn out.
Despite this slight irritation there were some great performances from this young company who were highly accomplished in delivering an interesting concept.
A House is Not A Home creates a clever, beautiful conceptual piece of theatre, which performed outdoors under the stars, made it something rather special.
The permanent outdoor arts space in the heart of Hounslow, showing top quality UK and international outdoor arts fortnightly until December. From circus to dance, theatre to music, performances are free and open to all.