Big in Belgium’s Another One is a fascinating work, showing actors’ dedication and mastery of their own body whilst telling the story of two-way tolerance.
Another One is a must-see for all theatre professionals and a general audience fascinated by actors’ concentration. For one hour, neither Lobke Leirens nor Maxim Storms break the heavily stylised and physically demanding code of performance – not even when they are moving the props. The Belgian Summerhall production is a feast of extraordinary acting which reminds everyone of the difficulty and dedication the profession requires.
There’s almost no verbal dialogue between the two characters, but are always in conversation (and agreement) with each other – they know what they have to do: when they need to hurt the other and when they need to let the other hurt them. It is a weird combination of peaceful coexistence filled with violence. Their contract is one we don’t understand, it does not follow our rules of behaviour, but the principle of tolerating and being tolerated is understandable to all of us (at least in theory).
The actors don’t fake slaps, kicks and other forms of violent contact – they readily suffer them for the sake of the show and the story they are telling, which only further shows their dedication that I have mentioned earlier. Moreover, Leirens and Storms give so much to this performance that at first, it seemed plausible that the raw meat they were eating on stage was real. It took a minute to notice it was a very, very well-made prop.
Not all parts of the show are understandable and for those who need to make sense of every movement, every directing and acting choice and the plot as a whole, Another One will be a stressful experience to say the least. But for those who can enjoy understanding just the main ideas of tolerance of the natural bestiality in people, who can focus on the magic that is happening in front of them and who can appreciate the amount of work that was put into this staging, Another One is unmissable.