Writers: Kajetan Uranitsch and Katelijne Beukema
Reviewer: Simon Topping
The piece starts with two people exploring their surroundings in front of a large screen which has a pictorial representation of the internet on it.
Kajetan Uranitsch and Katelijne Beukema are dressed all in white, in outfits you might have expected experimental fashion designer Alexander McQueen to have designed for Wimbledon. As they continue to search around the space they slowly discover shapes, colours and materials, adding to their vocabulary as they go.
Appearing on the screen behind the duo come typed words, first off all single words like duck or knife. The dancers move in unison to represent the words they see. Soon odd phrases, like “more cat, less dolphin”, come into view and the characterisation of these sayings become more surreal.
As the personification of these ideas continue, moments in history are added, like “A young Bob Dylan comes to New York for the first time” and “Two Romans toast the year zero”. There is a mixture of thought-provoking and funny statements which have the room intently watching and occasionally in bursts of laughter.
The show is a 2018 Amsterdam Fringe award winner and sees Uranitsch and Beukema, move sublimely well together. The physical snapshots of world history they perform have been inspired by the simple and quirky clay sculptures of sculptures Fischli and Weiss, who are among the most renowned contemporary artists of Switzerland.
As the digital screen continues to churn out its commands to the players, the information speeds and it becomes difficult for the duo to keep up. More and more input from the internet is displayed as the two attempt small choreographed pieces and vignettes but, however, soon this barrage of words, video and sound overwhelms the dancers and they end up fighting themselves instead.
From the top of the auditorium, the technician feeding these instructions comes down to the stage to try and stop them but is thwarted as Uranitsch and Beukema stop her and bury her in clothes and bubble wrap. They then turn to the audience and encourage us to get rid of everything we find meaningful, as they strip naked and pile a mountain of consumable goods on stage. By the end we have given up wallets, shoes, bags and coats. Only a blue screen, and the “stuff” we gather in our daily lives remain on stage as the performers disappear.
You don’t always have to understand what is going on to enjoy art; in fact, giving up the need for meaning can be liberating and The World we Live in is such an example. It is a funny, sweet, moving and anarchic piece of physical theatre that is wonderfully performed and lingers in the mind.
Reviewed on 1 June 2019 | Image: Contributed