Globaleyes at Chickenshed Theatre Online
A thought-provoking multi-media production about globalisation, human rights, poverty, slave labour and the environment, Globaleyes features images, dance, theatre and music, celebrating life’s wonders and charting their decline as a result of abuse, exploitation and a damaging disregard for the ecosystem.
Three screens with environmental scenes and historical footage are accompanied by captions describing the dire escalation of climate change and horrors such as slavery and war. Combining physical theatre, choreography and vocals – including duets and solos – the actors move in various formations to soulful, vibrant music.
The multiethnic cast, which incorporates players with disabilities, is globally representative in its diversity. Energetic and passionate, the movements of the ensemble are precisely choreographed to appear random and improvisational, emulating humanity’s hectic vitality.
The topics covered are immense. In one sequence, innovative lighting and a dynamic soundtrack surround actors packed into cages representing a darkened London tube train, flopping about like helpless dolls, part of a vignette about population growth. As the flickering lights become more intense, a choir of voices cries in unison, resembling the screams from Dante’s Inferno. A red glow enhances the hell-like aura, then morphs to white, illuminating powerful dancing suggestive of warlike rebellion.
A montage of two-second radio clips traverses trends and movements with romantic ditties and fragments of political speeches. Panels show shadows of nature’s beauty as dancers gracefully move in appreciative unison; chained performers struggle to a poignant vocalisation of “world’s in freefall…”; and a theatrical scene of random crowds listening to various pundits speaking wise words is followed by scenarios of chalk drawings on the ground and fighting, evoking territoriality and war. Duets expressing love, compassion and grief for those lost, amid a hymn-like chorus repeating “my echo around the earth,” signify that each of us is responsible and can have a universal impact.
With so many elements to this piece, it certainly warrants more than one view. In an era of information overload, watching this moving gem might require mindful patience at first, but it’s well worth it in order to absorb such wisdom and beauty.
Directors Louise Perry, Christine Niering and Jonathan Morton have pulled off a tour de force with this massive production – comprised of 200 performers – which successfully attempts to encompass the colossal subject of globalisation and the wrongs of humanity now and throughout history. Heart-rending but hopeful, Globaleyes is an original, well-crafted and inspired work.