Options of Life

Unfortunately, the free nine-page translation is relatively useless in the dark, rendering the performance wholly incomprehensible to anyone lacking fluent Polish.

archive review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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115270 original
Published 01 Aug 2007

Seconds in, it dawned on me that Options of Life was going to be a struggle. Attempting to exchange baffled looks with the eight other members of the audience turned out to be fruitless, considering I differed from them in one major aspect - I don’t speak Polish.

Created by the Impossible Theater Union (a rather apt name considering the interpretive difficulties I faced) Options of Life is an hour-long retelling of five parables from the Old Testament, illustrated through a series of sculptures manipulated by two rather uncharismatic actors.

Unfortunately, the free nine-page translation handed out to audience members is relatively useless in the dark of the theatre, rendering the performance wholly incomprehensible to anyone lacking fluent Polish. Furthermore, the "live music" it boasted amounts to little more than error-ridden ditties played out on an electric keyboard in the corner and some of the set's "sculptures" are nothing but bricks, blocks and piles of sand. Couple that with maxims such as "to save your head in a big battle it will not do to be a prostitute…in a physical sense," and one starts to wonder whether it is the play itself, rather than the language barrier, that renders Options of Life so thoroughly inaccessible.