Irene és la mestressa d'una finca dedicada al cultiu de pomes, on viu amb el seu fill. La seva filla se'n va anar fa molt de temps i n'ha perdut el contacte. Una tardor, ella torna i es desencadena aquest relat sobre la maduresa i els canvis de l'Anglaterra rural d'avui. El signa una de les dramaturgues més reconegudes del panorama britànic actual.
It is autumn, the trees are already bare and the apples ripe; in fact, in this Catalan production of Nell Leyshon’s Comfort Me With Apples they are gleaming: an impassioned red, a vivid green, and that strange pale Fuji variety that taste like soap. The plentiful presence of the fruit contributes to the visual poetry of the production, retitled Si mireu el vent d’on ve due to the alleged lack of translation for the original title, which is taken from the Bible.
Leyshon says her 2005 work examines the drudgery of rural life that she experienced growing up in a poor village in Somerset. Blunt, stoical characters of admirable resilience and repressed emotions watch their apple business rot in the face of globalised forces. There are hundreds of varieties of apples grown in England, says Leyshon, yet only a handful of them are sold in supermarkets – those most attractive to the eye rather than to the taste.
The tragic grandeur of the Catalan mise en scène, with some experimental lighting, effectively evokes the relationship between claustrophobia and agoraphobia in rural life. And were this manipulative idyll undermined by the rough, brusque performances that the original play demands, it would have been interesting. Unfortunately, apart from the matriarch Irene – quite a brutal woman in the text yet who here has the aires of a fallen angel, – the other characters seem uncomfortable in their roles; their corporeal manifestation of repression overplayed to the heights that the slow-witted Len is curiously imagined to be mentally ill.
To be fair, the actors didn’t have much to work with: “a lot is said between the lines of my play,” Leyshon says, although sometimes you suspect that there is more smoke than mirrors. In this opaque light, some attempt to reveal meaning in its translation is understandable. But the impassioned teary-eyed speeches and sudden bursts of action of this production tend to induce apathy not empathy.