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This one-man play chases after themes of alienation, trauma, and foreign isolation but never quite traps them.

Review: INTRUDER/INTRUZ, VAULT Festival Remi Rachuba moved to Glasgow from Poland in the late 90s to pursue his dreams and become an actor. A bright young man with stars in his eyes, he learns swear words at his teaching job in a special needs school. Mugged twice, he's left severely traumatised. He constantly looks behind his shoulder for his "intruder". While it's relatively easy to understand what Rachuba was aiming for with Intruder/Intruz, this one-man play chases after themes of alienation, trauma, and foreign isolation but never quite traps them.

The inconsistent narrative, split between English and Polish (without titles), is difficult to follow. What should be episodic instances that shine a light on his jarring experiences are isolated vignettes. Directed by Marcus Montgomery Roche, Rachuba's energy is seemingly infinite, running in circles around a half moon composed of different kinds of shoes (that probably hint at the faceted experience of an expat but are hardly addressed).

Shaken up and terrified of his new country, he tries to appeal to the justice system with very little result. He's referred to a victim support centre first and then he starts stress control therapy. Then there's a moment where he confronts the Polish pair who assaulted him last and they say that they did it because he saw he was happy and they weren't. The delivery toes absurdist territory.

There's also an extensive part about his attendance at the opening of a family friend's casino back in Poland when he was younger. He feels out of place, then he sees a student of his who's working as a hostess. One of the men grabs her bum. He is embarrassed about her seeing him there because it's inappropriate. It's a bit weird.

The listing says that the piece won the 2023 VAULT Festival Pick of Summerhall Award, it was shortlisted for the Adrian Pagan Playwriting Award at the King's Head Theatre in London, and it was among the final picks for the BBC Writersroom's Drama program. An interesting choice.

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From This Author - Cindy Marcolina

Italian export. Member of the Critics' Circle (Drama). Also a script reader and huge supporter of new work. Twitter: @Cindy_Marcolina

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