Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for June 21st, 2013

As the World Tipped

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 21st June, 2013

Wired Aerial TheatreThe Greenwich and Docklands International Festival (GDIF) got off to a spectacular start tonight with an awe-inspiring performance by the Wired Aerial Theatre, directed by Nigel Jamieson: As the World Tipped. Despite a downpour in London in the late afternoon the gods were kind this evening; indeed, the Man in the (almost full) Moon beamed down brightly from above the Queen’s House next to the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, in front of which  a cosmopolitan and predominantly young audience of several thousand sat on the grass. The piece itself got off to a slow and rather didactic start, as the performers moved boxes of files around the broad stage and one of them intoned alphabetically a list of endangered animal species, against a background of exhortations and apologies from global statesmen at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit. But the spectacle took on an entirely new dimension — literally — as the stage, suspended at the back from a giant crane, tilted, so that all the boxes and papers slid down and over the edge, until it was entirely vertical, the performers, now displaying their acrobatic skills, moving up and down what had turned into a vast screen on which various scenarios of environmental apocalypse were portrayed. The technical skill of the actor-acrobats and the black-clad puppet-masters who managed their guide ropes by striding up and down metal ladders at the side of the screen was literally breath-taking. Of course, the message of the piece — saving the planet — is hardly new, but that did not weaken its impact. In fact, because we know full well about the dangers and yet the international community has not managed to grasp the nettle of necessary changes to human behavior, the reminder is all the more important. The goal now must be to reach a global deal at the planned Paris Summit in 2015 — which itself should be creative grist to the Wired Aerial Theatre’s mill.

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