#35 Carmen Funebre

Theatre ( Outdoors ) The Square, Pleasance at EICC

Outdoors theatre at scale. First of a double bill: the original show from the 90s. Carmen Funebre is an epic telling of the turmoils of Bosnian civil war.

Sustained oppressive music provides the bleak background for the live action. The wind blowing through the square at the EICC is unwelcoming and adds Scottish colour to the presented discomfort.

Two henchmen on stilts standing at 4-5 meters tall, wielding a whip and a search light each. They round up a select five from the audience and whip then in through the gates of a detainment camp or something more allegorical.

Some soldiers engage in spoils of war, but long for the wives back home, too. The resistance gains strength, a prisoner woman is released, and the injured soldiers mistreated.

Two sides pick out their dead and burn the remains. Old conflict between the two civil sides flares up. Wonderful, nightmarish Death in black flag and bone mask brings out the remains and picks them out with a rake. Minimal effigies are lit and burn magnificently.

The henchmen drive out the survivors, but there's a new wind blowing now. The rebellion strikes against the black gate, bells a-ringing, and set the gate on fire. It burns and we see the henchmen no more.

The story is a little loose, and some of the evildoing seems relatively tame. Horrors of war, the threats, are not quite as menacing as they should. But the scale is truly epic, and many of the visuals are breathtaking. Earth, wind and fire!

See it for the epic scale, and stick around for the reflections on civil war.