Direction &Design: David Harradine &Sam Butler
Reviewer: Sarah Nutland
Fevered Sleeps’ new offering Above Me The Wide Blue Sky has transformed The Maria at the Young Vic in to an intriguing light and audio visual installation, with a performance questioning what happens when people become disconnected from nature.
The walls of the space are covered with large screens showing a collage of sky scenes, literally placing the audience under a wide blue sky. The floor is covered with white blocks, some of which have projections of water and other reminders of nature. There is also an array of strange bright lights creating quite a stark environment.
The audience are joined by a storyteller and a dog, ready for a journey through the real stories which Fevered Sleep have collected in meetings with people across the UK about memories. These stories have resulted in a piece that looks at how things used to be and how society has changed in terms of its connection with the living environment. This is brought to life through tastes, sights and sounds, through all seasons and all times of the day and night.
There’s a layering of imagery that takes place about the things people remember, which builds up and then begins to unravel to demonstrate how technology has infiltrated our daily lives. Although repetitive, there’s something quite beautiful about the images and language used. The idea of moving away from our connection with nature is made even more powerful by the screens, projections, lighting and computer generated sound that fills the space. The collage of sky scenes provided by Will Duke and Charles Webber’s soundscape adds to the feeling of the world ever moving and changing.
The piece emits a calming, relaxed feeling, like the one you get when reminiscing about childhood or other fond memories. However there is a definite shift in this feeling towards the end of the performance as the lists of things that have been lost grow and grow and a great sense of loss takes over.
Laura Cubitt, the lone performer in this production, leads the audience skilfully through the words, images and stories that unfold, capturing the audience’s attention well to begin with, but they became noticeable restless towards the end, due to the slightly repetitive nature of the show.
This production is a beautiful and intriguing forty-five minute exploration of memory and the environment, which is well worth a look.