Golem at the Young Vic
The world in which 1927’s shows take place is vivid and utterly unique. Conjured from a variety of media that work seamlessly together, and characterised by an all-pervading noir and unceasing deadpan humour, it is unmistakable in style. It achieves the grand scale of cinema with the immediacy of live action. Golem is still more ambitious in scale than their earlier shows. It tackles the subject of consumerism and furthers its experiments with multimedia theatre, this time adding an extra medium: stop motion animation.
Narrated like a children’s story in trademark clipped 1920s accents, Golem is the story of socially awkward Robert, who “smelt faintly of unwashed hair and mathematics” and his automated servant Golem, “a man made of clay with no free will, who can only obey”. When Golem begins enthusing over advertising and repeating consumerist sound bites, the dynamic between the pair shifts and Robert begins to transform. It’s a show that is styled in the past, set in the future and comments on the present: a time in which stockpiling possessions and building ever more capable machines is hampering our sense of freedom. The hyper modern is framed by the quaintly old fashioned, so rendering the futuristic even more jarring and alien in comparison. Golem is a glimpse of dystopian future the way society might have imagined it in the 1920s.
The illustrated animations that fill the huge screen onstage merge seamlessly with the live action, thanks to perfect timing from the actors. Doors and windows cut into the screen are used subtly, creating an ever-changing collage of real and simulated. The characters’ painted faces and cartoonish voices help to further seal the gap between the two. Golem stands out as a plasticine model come to life thanks to stop motion filming, a whole new medium, which further enriches the aesthetic.
The Daily Mail, Facebook and our obsession with personal technology are all satirised. “Don’t be a nobody; be an everybody”, the voice of Capitalism cajoles, while simultaneously we continue to churn as cogs in the Soviet bleak of the factory line. Is technology entrapment in the guise of progress, and are humans doomed to become more like machines?
With its grand scale effects, absorbing aesthetics and off-beat, sinister comedy, 1927’s work must be seen to be believed. Their newest show is a feast for the eyes that will awaken your revolutionary spirit and leave you both amused and disturbed.
Golem is on at the Young Vic until 31st January 2015, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for Golem here: