The City and Iris @ Zoo

A heartfelt tale of myopia

Feature by Renee Philippi | 20 Aug 2010
  • The City and Iris

The City and Iris, presented by Glass-Eye Theatre, is a delightful performance effectively combining the brilliance of physical storytelling with a profound, appealing message that is simplistic yet complex.

The story revolves around Iris, whose childhood diagnosis of myopia has led to an overall lack of vision and clarity of the world around her. She has structured her life in the simplest manner possible to avoid imagined, future chaos, and therefore exists as a librarian who lives vicariously through the pleasure of reshelving books.

When her glasses are accidentally broken, she is forced to view life from a different perspective in spite of her attempts to preserve the familiar by continuing to use the shattered specs. The underlying message of the story is epitomized by the simple admonition given to Iris: “If you can’t see, just open your eyes.”

Each talented performer in the four woman, three man cast, is an individual composition of energy, movement, and sound that merges with and becomes part of the greater whole. Their Lecoq training, which emphasizes using the body, movement, and space in performance, is highly effective. The multiple roles of each performer are acted out with such a brilliant sense of timing that the entire show is executed with seamless transitions. The cast effectively uses all available space, and the presentation of Iris’ morning routine is particularly strong.

The energy of the performance is truly mesmerizing and the symbolism represented by the collective hedge of actors at the beginning and conclusion of the show is profound. The City and Iris is a delightful synchronicity of seemingly effortless movement and power that leaves you feeling uplifted and ready to soar, believing that the whole of life does exist as a gift to the individual.

The City and Iris @ Zoo Roxy, 8 - 30 Aug 2010, 6.25pm, £7.50