Photo Credit: Stavanger 2008

Photo Credit: Stavanger 2008

Photo Credit: Stavanger 2008


Perfomed on Engøyholmen, Stavanger, Norway

October 2008

Tryst was an idea that had been active in the company since 2003. We had wanted to make a piece about and by the water, the way water can affect human behaviour, seeing watery sites as particularly strong locations for illicit liasons. It was originally the piece we wanted to create for Cork 2005, but when the site of the old Waterworks fell through we went for another idea and kept Tryst on the backburner.

We were then invited by Mary Miller of Stavanger 2008 to come up with a new show and when we were shown Engoyholmen Boatyard the idea crystalised again. Boats, which had been in the background of the previous conception, moved into the foreground and we developed an intimate story of two couples dealing with the death of a child by drowning and haunted by other drownings and tragedies.

The audience were ferried to Engoyholmen island by Hundvag 1, a small 1940s passenger ferry; once on the island the scenes were played out in and around the beautiful structures of newly-created boats and other artefacts of the sea. Whilst the roots of the text were in the work of William Golding, Pierre Loti, Oscar Wilde and Alexander Trocchi, the piece marked a development away from a devised process towards a more fully written play by Ben Harrison.

When searching for a name to call our company nearly fourteen years ago, Tryst was one of the early suggestions. We liked the idea it contained of the encounter between actor and audience as having the power, the erotic charge even, of the illicit encounter between lovers, one of the meanings of the word ‘tryst’. It also, more generally, means ‘meeting place’, and so in our production the piece was centred around various types of meeting: adulterous liaisons yes but also the meeting between human and sea, between male friends, between female friends, between child and adult.

Mark Fisher, Scotland on Sunday

classic Grid Iron. . . when fact and fiction blur. . . Becky Minto’s beautiful wave installation of glittering rocks hangs from the wooden beams in the boatyard. . . Drawing on watery writing by Oscar Wilde, William Golding and Alexander Trocchi, Harrison’s script for Tryst splashes against the boat yard like the tide itself.

Neil Cooper, The Herald

a grimly sensuous melange that looks somewhere between Las von Trier and The Brothers Grimm, where mermaids resemble 1930s flappers and waves flow like jewels. . . beautiful images. . . a serious voyage into some very dark waters.

Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman

Tryst is a thrilling visual and sensual experience, from the moment the boat pulls up to the magically lit island jetty. Becky Minto’s design and Paul Claydon’s lighting are often breathtaking, transforming the tiny island into a magical landscape of marine and domestic imagery – four great white sails soaring into the darkness here, a lit window there – and making brilliant use both of the gleaming shapes of the boats under construction, and of the beams, ladders and long attics of the workshop building. Conrad Ivitsky Molleson’s music and sound is eloquent and beautiful; the rich smell of wood, varnish and sea-water unforgettable. And at the core of the show, there is a beautiful, complex performance from Kjersti Botn Sandal as Lyra, the raging bereaved mother; with strong, hard-working support from Iain Parker as her husband, and David Ireland and Nicola Harrison as their friends Otto and Iona, lovers, rivals, and – sometimes – their most hated enemies.

Robert Dawson Scott, The Times

At their best, as here, Grid Iron’s use of real settings turns the theatrical mainstay of suspension of disbelief on its head. Surrounded by piles of chandlery and half-finished boats, the resiny tang of fresh-cut timber in your nostrils and the lapping of water around the rocky foreshore in your ears, you can hardly help believe. As it is, with atmospheric sounds played live by Conrad Ivitsky Molleson, this is an evocative meditation on our ongoing tryst with the waters that surround us.