Arts & Culture

Theatre review - Chickenshed's Globaleyes

Monday 15 April
Theatre review - Chickenshed's Globaleyes

- April 15 at 9:30 AM

by Lizzie Ward

Globaleyes is one of Chickenshed’s pioneering performances. It was first developed in 2002, inspired by the vision and values of Anita Roddick, the Body Shop founder.

Roddick saw the impact of globalisation, how it was distorting social morals and creating an ever widening economic imbalance.

Chickenshed saw this as a call to arms, as a way of creating thought-provoking and powerful theatre.

I have seen Globaleyes in each of its incarnations – in 2002, and again in 2005 when they performed in Edinburgh.

Every time, I take away a sense of what needs to be done, what changes are essential, how large the gap is between reality and a vision of an inclusive, balanced and peaceful world.

This time, the message is ever more important, ever more essential, in a world that is rocked by war and poverty, a world where governments are creating larger economic imbalances between the rich and poor in society.

The performance is visual, using dance, music, voice-overs and creative captioning to impart the message to the audience.

Even without the captioning and the voice-overs, the dance imparts the message – it tells us all we need to know about modern society and the impact of globalisation.

Through costume, lighting and facial expressions, we learn about how power, fame, money, poverty, violence and fear create the conditions underlying the moral problems within our global society.

Every dancer on stage brings something different to the performance, all individuals but coming together to create dialogue, to push the boundaries of political discussion.

As a deaf person, perhaps there was only a couple of things I feel could have been worked on. I applaud Chickenshed for incorporating creative captioning, especially as many theatres and companies see captioning as an afterthought.

However, there were some teething problems – there was a moment within the performance where a poem was spoken by a dancer on stage and the writing on the backdrop was garbled and impossible to make out.

It is important to strike a balance between creativity and access, and whilst most of the performance was understandable from a visual perspective, I felt as though I was missing out, as did my deaf companions.

We were given a hand-out before the performance with the entire synopsis, which whilst admirable, doesn’t address the need for clear and accessible captions.

Creative captioning can be incredible and adds to the overall performance, but there is always a need for creative staff and captioners to come up with a way of being accessible whilst allowing for creative freedom.

Globaleyes is one of the best pieces of political and visual dance theatre I have ever seen.

It continues to push the boundaries and raise awareness of issues that often get swept under the political carpet.

In a time where governments are letting down their citizens, where the gaping chasm between rich and poor continues to grow, and governments spend more on developing weapons than on the country’s children; this message is more essential than it has ever been.