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Monday 12 December 2016

Can I Start Again Please: Sussex-Based Sue MacLaine Explores How Language Conveys Painful Experiences

Emerging as one of the stand-out theatre pieces of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015, Sue MacLaine Company's Can I Start Again Please explores how far the public realm of language can ever transmit the private world of profound trauma. 

Written in English and translated into British Sign Language, its two performers, eachspeaking in their own language, asks audiences to consider how such painful experiences are understood, communicated and translated. 

Sussex based Sue has confirmed this will be the final show of this work - and it's a sort ofhomecoming after such a successful tour.

In writing the script MacLaine drew on extensive knowledge of language cognition and brain function built over a 20-year career as a sign language interpreter. 

Can I Start Again Please places two performers on stage; one deaf and one hearingand challenges the audience to engage with the question of who is the narrator and who is the interpreter

Having set herself the task of "writing like a dancer", she chose to work with choreographer Jonathan Burrows. MacLaine wanted to create a work where the use ofsign language was integral to the form and introduced sign-language users to contemporary performance practice.  

The poetic and coffin-dark script, performed simultaneously in spoken English and sign language, is heightened by the choreographic eye of Jonathan Burrows and asks audiences to consider how such painful experiences are understood, communicated and translated.

Sue MacLaine is a UK theatre-maker, with a singularly driven voice, making work because she has to with the stakes of her investigations are high. 

She casts a fearless gaze - on both herself and her subject to write scripts that are bleakly funny, challenging whilst remaining compassionate and warm.  

Jonathan Burrows danced with the Royal Ballet for 13 years before leaving to pursue his own choreography. 

His main focus now is an ongoing series of duets with the composer Matteo Fargion,with whom he has given over 300 performances across 31 countries. 

The two are currently in-house artists at the Nightingale Brighton and their most recent performance Body Not Fit For Purpose had its world premiere as part of the 2014 Venice Biennale. 

Sue MacLaine 'Can I Start Again Please' at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Brighton, on 15th December 2016. CLICK HERE for more info. 

by: Mike Cobley


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