THE DENIAL THIS IS FOREVER | STAGE REVIEW
NoFit State, Cardiff, Sun 23 May
Describing itself as “part museum, part live action video game and part live performance”, The Denial This Is Forever invites you to explore the limits and challenges of connecting through digital media, and helps us to reflect on how our lives have been changed by this becoming the prevalent method. We have been working on the assumption that this is only temporary – but, we are asked, will it last forever?
Devised by Eric McGill, a trapeze artist originally from Canada, this show sees the return of in-person theatre to Wales – albeit in an unconventional format, with performances for between one and six people inside the NoFit State company’s base in Four Elms Road, Roath. As you are led through a series of rooms, you are presented with different ideas: some on screen, some live action, and some simple objects to ponder on. A trail of tea lights leads you through the presentation, where you are invited to explore how digital media has impacted our lives through heavy reliance on technology. A film in the first room describes people’s experience of lockdown; how it has affected them and the adaptations they have had to make.
McGill shows us that it is possible we barely know the difference between the two modes of communication, until we start to acknowledge the limitations of one. The surreal and the real stand side by side as you are guided through different experiences, which remind us that without a person present, we cannot fully comprehend all that is going on. We must imagine some of the missing bits.
In the final room, we are invited to be present with a person, in-person – and to take a break from the screens. McGill performs an outstanding piece of trapeze work, showing the amazing versatility of human movement through the air, and we’re reminded what a sense of freedom from the confinement of screens can feel like. A finale of live music, combined with a screen showing the trapeze act before a large audience in ‘normal’ circumstances, underlines our need to connect in a digitally-reliant world.
The Denial This Is Forever runs at NoFit State until Sun 6 June; and at Unit 9, Friar’s Walk, Newport from Tue 29 June until Sat 10 July. Info and booking: www.ericmcgill.net
words EMILY EDWARDS