Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Terni Performance Festival: Zilla!

Along with the mounting body of scientific data on climate change comes the implicit knowledge that the future contains more and more catastrophe. The way these catastrophes are narrated - mostly through media - is already corrupt, and with the pre-requisite that the first world dissociate itself from accountability for these events, it doesn't take a long stretch of the imagination to assume these narratives will become more and more pliable.

Just how we respond to these events is the focus of Zilla!, a part participatory work, part staged poem from writer Andy Field in collaboration with Ira Brand and Chritopher Brett Bailey. The play utilises a floating birds'-eye lens of cities in the world (for me reminiscent of Chris Thorpe's There has Possibly been an Incident, although the likeness is presumably accidental as it was first performed in 2011) zooming through different world cities as though from the perspective of Godzilla himself. One moment, we are in London with its Oxford street brands, the next in Berlin with its issues of gentrification, or perhaps in New Orleans.

By the time catastrophe strikes, we've got a sort of poetic portrait of the daily life of the global citizen. In a device I found fairly artificial, we are asked to put our Lego figures, personally selected from the floor at the beginning of the show, down on a map of the city that has been periodically sketched out by the actors. We do this only to see them callously stomped on by the two actors (Brand and Bailey) wearing giant fluffy animal slippers and to the tune of some pop song I can't remember (EDIT: We Gotta Get Out of this Place by The Animals), in a kind of mimicry of the fragile act of creation and the unfeeling swiftness of its destruction.