What did we miss most during the pandemic: the entertainment or the audiences? We still had box sets and online concerts; what we lacked was the interval chat and the closing applause. Whether we liked football or film, drinking or drama, it was the company of others we were deprived of.
Happily, as we edge back into the public domain, we have Trevor Lock to satisfy our communal needs. We Are Each Other is not just a show with a bit of audience participation, it is one that couldn’t exist without us. Our presence – and the things that connect us – are what it’s about.
It is billed as theatre, although, like his Community Circle (also running this week), it is comedic in form. Like a slow-motion Phil Kay or a domesticated Ross Noble, Lock works with the raw material of what’s in front of him to turn a group of people sitting in a tent into something like an extended family.
With the manner of a weary form teacher, benign but a little tetchy, he ekes out slivers of information – a name here, a country there – to build bridges between us. He recruits a photographer to capture the big moments (such as they are) and a note-taker to put the key events in writing. As the responsibilities grow, he is joined by ever more people on stage.
To say that nothing happens would be to miss the point. What counts is we were there to witness nothing happening together.
On the way out, I hear one audience member wish another happy birthday before waving goodbye to two others. They had been strangers only an hour before.
We Are Each Other is at Summerhall, Edinburgh, until 29 August.