UK theatre makers Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas bring their beguiling, unsettling brand of absurdism to the Adelaide Festival in 2019. Palmyra tackles the big issues taking place in the world through clowning, absurdism and a lot of broken crockery.
Palmyra is the ancient city in Syria: it was destroyed by ISIS soldiers in 2015 and has changed hands regularly during the war. Palmyra is also the name of a brilliantly conceived and ink-black two-hander by Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas. What are they? A classic straightman/fallguy comedy duo? Absurdist everymen? Astute psycho-political analysts?Labels fail to stick to this riotous show but what it has in abundance is the ability to cut to what’s really going on beneath the complex mire of world events. In Palmyra, a playful dispute involving a couple of china plates slides inexorably toward a shattering climax as the audience finds itself forced to pick sides between Voutsas and Lesca. Originally part of the British Council Edinburgh Fringe showcase in 2017, this incredible production has been touring the world ever since, provoking audience belly laughs one minute and discomfited witnesses to a fable on power, civilisation and spectatorship the next.