Shoeless and lying on our backs, we are given a gift in an ice cave in Summerhall’s basement. Su Shaw, a Scottish-Portuguese artist and musician working as SHHE, has created D Ý R A, a “sonic installation evoking landscapes and liminal states”.
Closer to a sound bath than a staged production, D Ý R A provides that rarest of Fringe experiences: calm. As we look up at the ceiling of a pale, gossamer tent, ambient coloured lights shift imperceptibly from arctic blue, to sunset pink, to sherbert orange – and that’s if you choose to keep your eyes open. Eyes closed, the sounds – understated, mesmeric, layered – allegedly conjure Dýrafjörður in the Westfjords of Iceland, but the where is almost incidental. Our journeys are both collective and individual; this is true escapism from the unchecked chaos of the festival.
There is very little content to speak of here, though that is entirely the point. Eventually we hear water dripping, our igloo seemingly lashed gently by the sun, or like a SAD lamp coaxing us back to reality. And then: silence. Pupils dilating, mistaking the mottled ceiling for deep sky, we reflect, rejuvenated. D Ý R A is an unshowy, minimalist 50 minutes, but it achieves exactly what it sets out to do.