The stage is set with a giant white cloth, held up in places by cables and pulleys. It looks like snow covered mountains, peaceful and serene. This is what ‘the impossible’ looks like from far away. Like a picture postcard. But look closer.
Four actors of different nationalities and a drummer combine at various times under, in or in front of the vast cloth structure, which is raised, dropped, illuminated in various ways. This is a land that most of us do not know of, or ignore, or just wish were not there. But it is. A land visited by aid workers and humanitarians, at least for as long as their sanity can stand it. In the face of civil war, genocide, mass killings how long can anyone’s mind last before cracking apart? And yet, incredibly, some are drawn back again and again to the impossible as if it is the only place they can really ‘exist’.
These accounts gathered together by Tiago Rodrigues for Comedie De Geneva, take us on a journey into the impossible through the eyes of humanitarian aid workers who risk their life daily to provide aid, medicines, food and hope.
The drumming within this piece is almost constant, sometimes soft and regular like a heartbeat, other times intermittent, then shockingly loud and conclusive like a bomb blast, then rat-a-rat like gunfire. Dialogue changes from one language to another, it is interpreted and displayed on a screen above the stage in English. This takes commitment from the audience to both follow the dialogue sometimes shouted and screamed at us, and to physically stand up to the constant haptic bombardment which comes at times unceasingly, like a bombing raid. This is not easy, but it’s not meant to be.
Utterly committed acting, and a technical tour de force, this is not so much a call to arms, as a call to just look and listen, at least for a short time.
This was uncomfortable to the point of complaints after the show from those with medical conditions, but boy was it powerful. Watch it if you can, and if you care.
Reviewer: Greg Holstead
Reviewed: 11th August 2023
North West End UK Rating: