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Are We Not Drawn Onward to New ErA

“Fascinating palindromic drama”

If you can bear to sit through 35 minutes of very testing, very incomprehensible movement and sound, the payoff for Ontroerend Goed’s show is completely worth it.

The Belgian company’s take on the climate crisis, while initially trying, is a very clever piece of theatre. During the 35-minute first half, actors walk around the stage in strange ways, their movements awkward and unnatural. One destroys a tree, root and branch, others spread hundreds of plastic bags across the stage. A 10ft Oscar-esque golden statue is assembled.

Then there’s the switch. Without giving too much away, the palindromic title of the show starts to make sense. We start going backwards, and the show’s theme of irreversible ecological disaster becomes powerfully clear.

The rewind starts with simple things, the statue dismantled and plastic bags cleared up, but steadily the acts become more impossible. There’s an imperceptible point where the work to restore the stage to its Eden-like state becomes physically impossible. Gravity goes only one way, and some things cannot be magicked back to neutrality.

One strange aspect of the show is that they do destroy a tree on stage every performance, which seems a bit self-defeating. But otherwise this is a strange and extraordinary piece of theatre.

£¥€$ (Lies) review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘engaging and beautifully presented’

Production Details
Production nameAre We Not Drawn Onward to New ErA
VenueZoo Southside
StartsAugust 15, 2019
EndsAugust 25, 2019
Running time1hr 15mins
ComposerWilliam Basinski
DramaturgJan Martens
DirectorAlexander Devriendt
Costume designerCharlotte Goethals, Valerie Le Roy
Lighting designerBabette Poncelet, Jeroen Wuyts
Sound designerBabette Poncelet, Jeroen Wuyts
Video designerBabette Poncelet, Jeroen Wuyts
CastAngelo Tijssens, Charlotte De Bruyne, Jonas Vermeulen, Karolien De Bleser, Leonore Spee, Maria Dafneros, Vincent Dunoyer
TechnicalJon Barron, Klass Neyt
ProducerKunstencentrum Vooruit, Ontroerend Goed, Richard Jordan Productions, Spectra, Theatre Royal Plymouth
VerdictPalindromic show from Belgian theatremakers Ontroerend Goed explores climate change in a fascinating way
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Tim Bano

Tim Bano

Tim Bano

Tim Bano

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