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I, Who Have Hands More Innocent review at Zoo, Edinburgh – ‘intriguing’

I, Who Have Hands More Innocent, Zoo, Edinburgh I, Who Have Hands More Innocent, Zoo, Edinburgh

Performed mostly in Croatian by Vesna Tominac Matacic, this one-woman show about the life and writing of Croatian poet Vesna Parun, tells us her story and presents us with her words in the language in which they were written. There have been a number of shows this year that pick at the limitations of language, and this is one of them – it’s fascinating to hear this subject explored in relation to a language other than English.

I, Who Have Hands More Innocent describes Parun’s wartime experiences, her relationships, her feminism, and her growth as an artist. It’s a piece with its own music that sheds light on Croatian culture and history. Though its fragmented nature can frustrate, it succeeds in conveying the essence of Parun’s work in the way that a more straightforward biographical show might not have.

There are real problems, though, with the way the surtitles are projected. They’re frequently hard to read, and some of the translations feel a bit wayward, but Matacic – wearing white robes and standing over a map of the world – is a fierce and engaging presence and the show leaves you eager to learn more about Parun, her world and her words.

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Intriguing one-woman primer to the life and work of a Croatian poet