Future Bodies – a play created in collaboration between two theatre companies, Unlimited and RashDash. An explosion of colours, sounds and visuals – disappointment lurks nowhere in this performance that doesn’t hold back.
This is a blending of spoken word poetry within script; short scenes merging into discussionary longer pieces; physical dance sequences and a blending of written and spoken word. Altogether we are offered a powerful reminder of what our bodies are capable of – alone, or together.
This is a celebration of the thoughts, feelings, sensations, movements and experiences we gain because we inhabit these fleshy places. This is theatre for a new generation of theatre goers. This is a treat – opening with a sensational and catchy rock anthem followed by several short skits – excellent, no doubt, for grabbing the attention of the younger demographic in the audience.
What surprised me was the range of onlookers, though – from young to old, the audience was as diverse as the cast.
As we moved onward through the play, it unravelled to reveal deeper issues and emotions at the heart of this collection of faceted debates. We have the central question of “what is the future of our bodies?” surrounded by aspects of everything the future of our bodies could affect. The implication of economics; the rich versus the poor. The absence of pain, and of pleasure. The question of taste and smell and reality – as real if reduced to simplistic sets of code and data? But isn’t this what it is, really? Aren’t our brains super-computers already?
Penultimately, after indulging in the voyeurism of these character’s complex emotions and most private and pivotal moments, we witness death. This section was interesting – it played with many things, but notably for me it played with the idea of the death of the private individual. At this point your head should be swirling with questions.
Throughout the piece, visceral and raw soundscapes made us feel; recorded directly on the night, this gave the performance an individualistic notion. No sounds would have been exactly the same as previous iterations, and so giving us the knowledge that what we heard was unique – and deeper, that perhaps humans in our uniqueness cannot be pre-recorded and reused as if we are commodities.
The strength of these soundscapes came to the forefront once we entered the last third; a journey, watching a physical movement-and-dance interpretation of the image of monkey progressing to man – and beyond to machine. The ever-present unknown blue entity watching over the stage throughout finally joins and takes leadership of the troupe. They fall in line in a chilling robotic march. Is this the future of human-kind?
No, but an entirely possible one.
Subliminal messages are rife throughout – but this is a performance which doesn’t hand hold or patronise in the way it delivers its material. This collaboration of companies, sounds, emotions, words and delights deserves to be watched, watched, and watched again. We are taught; this is an experience so well-crafted and multi-dimensional in its scope we will be thinking and discussing long after the curtain falls.
If you’re curious and want to learn more about the show head over to http://www.unfuturebodies.com