On the corner of the Scottish Storytelling Centre stage, David W Johnstone, producer and director of “The Comic Destiny” by Lazzi Arts, sits and leafs through the pages of a book. He watches the audience filing in – chatter inevitably ensues. The lights fall.
Charlotte Jarvis arrives. He hands her a copy of the the book. The first words uttered in this brave adaptation are the author’s name, who’s mystical, dream like prose has defied dramatisation until now.
The show came about after a StAnza event in 2010. After signing DJs copy, the gauntlet of turning his tale of madness and desire, suffering and salvation was thrown down by the poet and Booker award winning novelist. You have to say, bringing it to the Scottish Storytelling Centre for the Fringe after two and a bit years was pretty quick work.
After reading a page of riddles together, the two actors welcome Robert Williamson to the stage. The three actors discover the story. Sometimes they take over the story. Sometimes the story takes them over. We meet a young man and a young woman, lovers fighting about everything and nothing. We meet an asylum runaway scaring a young woman.
There are moments of comedy in “The Comic Destiny”, but it is also a contemplation of fear, suspicion and self loathing. There are genuinely disturbing moments. By working together, the actors and characters overcome their challenges.
And that is what I ultimately took away from the piece – that there is no light without shadow, no day without night, and that in life (if not constitutional politics) we are better together. Except for when we are better apart.