I was able to catch the Iranian drama troupe perform the experimental dramatic piece “Slow Sound of Snow” as part of the 2016 Georgetown Festival.
The story (if you call it that) takes place in a small shack with a slanted floor, huddled underneath a treacherous mountain cliff which is in danger of producing an avalanche. Any loud noise might be enough to set if off. During this particular winter, a pregnant woman has to give birth and the husband, along with his mother and grandfather, have to weigh the pros and cons and figure out what to do since having a crying newborn would threaten their actual existence.
It’s a scenario and setting which has enough meat on its bones to produce an engaging story. However, the execution of this piece was lacking. But before I break it down, that statement isn’t exactly true. I have no doubt of the talent of the actors. The concentration that they had to display was considerable. I also don’t doubt the talent of the director, who was good at emphasizing small details.
The problem I had with this piece is the same problem I have with so many other modern theatre pieces – they simply do not engage the audience in good storytelling.
The “Slow Sound of Snow” is much more of an actor’s exercise rather than an enjoyable night out at the theatre.
So this review is all about the genre that so many modern playwrights and directors decide to plop themselves into. This performance made me think of this post that I had rather recently re-posted because the same topics keep coming up again and again. People are hungry for stories, and modern theatre hasn’t done a good job of providing engaging and entertaining stories. Television has really become the place to tell stories. Look up what Kevin Spacey said about stories when he started his connection with Netflix. Theatre has so much potential to bring entertainment and exhilaration to live audiences, but I rarely experience that, even though I’m a regular theatre go-er.
This show was literally and incredibly slow moving. It was purposely written that way. The first 20 minutes of the show literally nothing happened. Hardly anything was said. It was a series of minimal movements. And yes, I got the situation after the first two minutes, I didn’t need to see another 15 minutes before anything remotely engaging happened.
As I said before, this was an exercise for actors. A good one at that. Impressive concentration and an interesting set. (Though the wolf was a little bizarre.)
If you are in to the strange style of modern experimental theatre then I recommend seeing “The Slow Sound of Snow” when it comes through your part of the world. It has garnered a lot of awards.
If you like theatre for strong storytelling, engaging characters, and an enjoyable night out on the town, you may want to skip this one.