Last Dream (on Earth) at Assembly Hall
Kai Fischer’s Last Dream (on Earth) is an immersive soundscape, created using live voices and instruments, as well as pre-recorded audio played through headphones for each audience member, for a surround-sound experience.
Two stories compete for our attention, and both are true: one is that of Yuri Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut who became the first human in space; the other belongs to the thousands of refugees who risk their lives to cross the sea in the hope of a better life on European soil.
Told through telephone conversations with parents, crackly ground control-to-rocket intercom exchanges and short monologues – and embellished with music and evocative sound effects – the two narratives are told with tenderness and urgency. Both begin with hope but only one will end in glory.
The accomplished cast sits on a straight line of chairs throughout the show, barely moving, but delivering moving performances with just their voices. “If you make it to Morocco and they don’t decide your kidneys are worth more than you can pay to keep them…” so goes one of many harrowing lines. Perhaps the most unsettling moment, though, is a protracted moment of silence. In the seconds of soundless countdown before Yuri is launched into space, you could hear a pin drop in the theatre. It’s meditative, but it’s also uncomfortable; we consider the colossal and perilous journeys lying ahead of Gagarin and of the refugees.
It is a bold decision to deny its audience all but audio stimulus, but Last Dream (on Earth) manages to paint vivid and lasting imagery as it weaves its captivating tales.
Last Dream (on Earth) is at Assembly Hall from 4th until 28th August 2016, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for the Last Dream (on Earth) here: