AS THE WORLD TIPPED
Wired Aerial Theatre
Produced by Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre
Two performances: 6 and 7 September, 2013
Victoria Square, Birmingham City Centre
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 08 09 13
Difficult to find words to describe this amazing event
Last year Birmingham City Council supported a vast open air performance – Voyage – as part of the Arts Olympiad. This year, celebrating the opening of their landmark new Central Library, they have supported another large scale open-air (and free to the audience) art work in the City Centre, AS THE WORLD TIPPED.
It is difficult to describe the impact of a work such as this, but I’ll do my best . . .
Darkness, sirens, snippets of mumbled conversation. Then, on a large stage, the Secretariat of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference struggle to keep up with the prevarications of Conference delegates. Despite over-blown words from politicians, the conference breaks down in procedural issues. Suddenly there is a loud crack, metal groans, the earth moves. The stage rises to a 45 degree slope and then steeper and steeper. Humans are left clinging on for their very lives, some slide to their deaths.
Eventually the stage is vertical, it has become a screen on which gigantic moving images are projected. Against this, and merging with it, a group of aerial performers struggle to stay alive. The performers synchronise with astounding skill their movements to the screen, often appearing to ‘walk’ on the images. This is a dizzyingly exciting effect and gives rise to a series of powerful and lasting images, particularly as the performers at this distance and height appear tremendously vulnerable and fragile.
Early on, for instance, the characters run for their lives over speeding conveyor-belt like images of the texts of the Copenhagen protocols. This strong message earned spontaneous, and well-deserved, applause.
Later, characters leap across suddenly emerging gaps in fast moving tectonic plates, trying to rescue each other; sometimes they succeed sometimes they fall into the dark void.
Eventually the performance reaches its conclusion and a large THE END appears on the screen. But now, with breathtaking synchronicity, the performers appear to peel away this message and write another . . . DEMAND CHANGE NOW.
What more is there to say?
Devised and performed by Wired Aerial Theatre