I don’t like violence. I don’t like being around people who choose violence. And I certainly don’t like being around weapons that aid people in violence. Which is why it was puzzling to me when a friend whose opinion I very much trust recommended that I go see Stuntman. It is a show about violence, and weapons are wielded throughout. I shouldn’t have liked this show. And yet I thought it was absolutely brilliant.
It’s brilliant because yes, Stuntman is a show about violence. But it’s a show about interrogating the nature of violence and why it’s so encoded in our perceptions of masculinity. It looks at the impact of violence on our lives, particularly men, and it specifically questions the impact of violence on the lives of the two performers, Sadiq Ali and David Banks. Both give exquisite performances that are equal parts powerful and tender, and they effortlessly vacillate between scenes of cartoonish machismo and heartbreaking vulnerability. There were moments that quite literally took my breath away, and it was extraordinary to witness.
I still don’t like violence. But I will happily watch shows like this that tackle it so well. If you’re in Edinburgh at all this month, you should absolutely check out Stuntman.
Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!