Shame on You @ Summerhall – Demonstration Room (Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2022) Review

“A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour” sums up the feeling of ‘shame’, something we don’t openly discuss, but an emotion that is deeply felt. Three years in the making, Swiss/Russian duo Trixa Arnold and Ilja Komarov present the results of a series of interviews conducted in Switzerland, Russia and Pakistan in response to a time whereby interviewees felt shame. A powerful premise for a show and one that connects us all, Shame on You! allows this emotion to come out from the shadows and in doing so, is examined further.

With hundreds of stories varying in length, speaking of times whereby shame was felt, Komarov reads these aloud, each one allowed to cascade to the ground once read. The stories alone are fascinating to listen to, as the show’s main premise, listening to these trigger thought, you automatically thinking of times whereby you’ve yourself felt shame, and perhaps how this has impacted others. Many of these stories drawing on taboo topics, which can be seen as a crux of the feeling of shame.

We then are given either a short story, opinion, provocation or sentence drawing on the feeling of shame and are tasked with reading this aloud, this further inspiring thought and turning the piece more so into a forum to discuss thoughts and feelings making the show a powerful encounter. The floor opened to us at any point if we choose to add thoughts, questions arising involving a differentiation between shame and embarrassment/shame and guilt provocations that again, further inspire thought. Intertwined with these testimonies are songs written and produced by the duo, Komarov on guitar, Arnold on a mixing deck – accompanied by audience members per song, holding signs with translations which are held up (Bob Dylan-eqsue) and dropped to reveal the following lyrics, the songs offering a time to ponder and reflect. Shame on You! bravely explores the often left behind, which is necessary for addressing traumas and regrets experienced.

Written by Lucy Basaba.

Shame on You! is currently showing until Sunday 21st August/Tuesday 23rd until Sunday 28th August 2022. To find out more about the production, visit here… 

Written by Theatrefullstop