Is it “you are nowhere” or “you are now here”? As performance artist Andrew Schneider reveals in his mind-melting, slowly disintegrating physics lecture – part of LIFT 2016 – they are the same thing. Time and space are the same thing.
What begins in a meandering fashion, with Schneider half-naked and face painted white, morphs into a fast-paced explanations of the theory of relativity and reflections on love. There is no story, but with sudden interruptions of bright spurting light and malfunctioning sound the show uses theatrical means to disrupt the laws of physics.
And watching Schneider falter and flail with pinpoint accuracy, on a spectrum between the highest tech and the simplicity of a man talking to people in a room, it becomes impossible to retain any sense of time.
The show keeps trying to convince the audience of its simplicity and linearity, but every thought or sentence or scene is cut short. It simultaneously demands and defies analysis, pulling the rug every time it approaches coherence. It’s one spectacular rug-pull in particular, towards the end, that makes the show so thrillingly good.
Transporting us to some glitching, parallel dimension, Schneider uses technology – and absolute technical precision – to electrify live performance, flash that supports form rather than concealing flimsiness.
A show that can make you question the reality of a room full of people, that can bifurcate itself into a mirrored parallel world, that can convince you that you may only be a figment of this performer’s dream, that can make time run backwards: there exists nothing else like it. This is what LIFT is for, what theatre is for. A genuinely mind-blowing show.