How to Keep Time: A Drum Solo for Dementia by Antosh Wojcik – Summerhall, Edinburgh
Antosh Wojcik is a poet and a drummer, an unusual but logical combination. In his one-man Summerhall show, he brings his skills to a performance that is highly distinctive – both experimental and emotionally powerful. He tells the story of his attempts to connect with his grandfather – ‘dziadek’ in Polish – who is suffering from advanced dementia and apparently out of reach, from behind his drum kit.
With an astonishing ability to improvise on the drums while performing scenes with his father and grandfather, he conjures up a piece that is all about rhythm. Fresh from band practice, he shows up in the care home ward with his drum kit and plays for his grandfather, reminding him of shared memories. Images from the his childhood repeat, such as eating a gooseberry given to him by his dziadek. His expressive playing recreates the stuttering replies he receives, and accompany his own thoughts.
The show is also funny with ideas, such as a future in an old people’s home full of aging metalheads, trying to recall riffs of the past, amusingly played out. As a performer Wokcik’s style lacks a little naive and his craft can develop, but his shows is entirely charming, and his open, creative response to the closing down of conventional communication channels is very moving. Wojcik is a talented writer and performer who seems to have invented a genre that is all his own, and we are sure to see more of him.