Dir. Kai Fischer, Tron Theatre, 1st-4th April 2015
We live in a world which we often choose to cut ourselves off from. Sitting in the library, in the park, on the subway, you’ll see them: the ubiquitous headphones. Innocuous though they are most the time however, it is more than mildly disconcerting to be handed a pair on your way into the theatre, turning what is usually an open, shared experience into something a lot more insular. Each cocooned in our private head-spaces, we are taken on a journey where the voice in your head is just about your only lifeline.
Last Dream combines the tales of two very different types of incredible, life-changing journeys, accompanied by a live soundtrack of Ghanian music from Gameli Tordzro. Five performers sit on the stage in front of us, and while this piece could arguably be called “post-visual” there is one privileged spot, a raised podium on which sits Yuri Gagarin (Ryan Gerald), about to become the first man in space. The only character on stage not to switch roles, we hear of Gagarin’s famous flight through the transcript of his radio communications with Control. Without visual distractions it is striking how many ways one man can say “all is well”.
While Gagarin’s flight has been celebrated and his bravery lauded through the years, however, there are many people whose names we’ll never know who make equally terrifying journeys in the hope of finding a better life. Gagarin’s story is interwoven with those of African migrants who have made it to Morocco in the hope of crossing to Europe and finding a new home there. While the characters are fictionalised, the stories come from interviews conducted by Kai Fischer in a refugee centre in Malta, and from time spent in Morocco. As a result, Mercy Ojelade and Adura Onashile give voice to raw, vulnerable people, terrified of the only choice they have left, giving them also a dignity and purpose as the lines between “migrant” and “refugee” become blurred.
The simple video work of starscapes and, as Ojelade points out, lots and lots of water, works with the music and narration to shift between a reassuring, hopeful tempo, to wild and terrifying chaos. This is an utterly immersive piece which isn’t afraid to drag you down with it, but in the end wants you to see the prospect of brighter shores.
[Caitlin MacColl- @turningtoaverse]