Reviewer: David Doyle
What would happen if all of a sudden humanity stopped existing? That’s the question posed by Ontroerend Goed in their newest work, World Without Us. As a lone figure on stage narrates the changes to Earth in the wake of the disappearance of man, the piece meditates on mankind’s impact on the world around them, offering a poignant look at a world that feels all too possible.
As time passes after the disappearance of humanity, even in the very theatre in which we’re sat, huge changes take place as nature reclaims the world. As planes make their final journeys across the sky, lights dim, and the whirring noise of the world is silenced, the piece offers an intriguing, and through-provoking look at a world changed utterly. Posing questions about what man leaves behind once its ideas and memories fade, the piece is a challenging exploration of our lives and the way we live them.
The ending of the show is marked with a series of projected images drawn from a time capsule at the time of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. As the show so strikingly looks to the future, this segue to a historical period so far removed from our own feels jarring. The projection that accompanies the ending isn’t executed with the same precision as the rest of the piece and makes for something of an odd end to the show.
World Without Us is a strange but powerful meditation on humanity’s achievements and our greater role in the universe. It’s a thoughtful and well-executed piece but one that feels slightly cold due to its detached presentation.
Runs until 28 August 2016 | Image: Contributed