Are we not drawn onward to new erA @ Zoo Southside
Are we not drawn onwards to a new erA is an inventive, meticulously choreographed, high artistic commentary on humanity’s collective destruction of the Earth
The mystifying opening to Ontroerend Goed’s latest piece sets up a dreamlike world, where thinly drawn characters erect monuments, tear trees to shreds, and play with plastic bags, all the while sporadically speaking in their own unidentifiable language. Are we not drawn onward to new erA is a clear allegory for climate change and global destruction even before a comprehensible narrative emerges, its blankness cultivating universality. Very little distinguishes the characters from each other, which puts emotional distance between the material and the audience for much of the run time but highlights the urgency of the wold-altering stakes at play.
At the midway point, the play’s previously baffling qualities are transformed into a new, almost Lynchian narrative, equal parts hopeful and heart-wrenching, with the performers’ puzzling delivery and presentation suddenly rendered in a new light. The painstaking detail in each action comes into focus as the double meanings are revealed, but the most striking quality is the painstaking choreography that went into the piece’s creation. The play soars when this technical brilliance does not obscure its human heart.
Are we not drawn onward to new erA is an inventive, meticulously choreographed, high artistic commentary on humanity’s collective destruction of the Earth and every person’s responsibility to commit fully to its rehabilitation. The performance may lose itself somewhat in its concept and prove a frustrating – if visually arresting – watch until the mid-show twist, but the craft of its creators and the philosophical questions in its final minutes impress themselves on minds and hearts.
Are we not drawn onward to new erA, Zoo Southside, until 25 Aug (not 19), 11am, £12-14