60 European citizens committed to creating theatre that proposes new storytelling experiences about the recent financial crisis.
The Portuguese group are a collective of performers, writers, photographers and filmmakers. Their project was a multimedia piece utilising these talents – an eclectic collection of tableaux vivants under the direction of Hugo Miguel Coelho. Each section is introduced with a stunning series of photographs taken by Horta Rosario – a result of collaborations with members of the Sifnos Crisis Project depicting their vision of the EU crisis.
The piece explored greed, desire, and the capability and power of multi-millionaire corporations to instigate this. Hugo Miguel Coelho introduced himself at the beginning as ‘Steve NoJobs’, launching into a satirical speech promoting the launch of his aptly named life-style brand: ‘iCan’. The use of satire and the dark humour running throughout the piece undercut the rather dystopian vision of humanity that it also offered. For example, for the section entitled ‘Plato’s, The Feast/Symposium’, Horta Rosario, Fabio Lopes, Carlos Vaz and Válter Nougueria began to embody a particularly grotesque style of physical performance demonstrating the nature of gluttony, re-enacting a brutal murder, where the victim is served for dinner to a pack of ravenous zombie-like creatures, the scene ends in a morbidly comic mass suicide. Many of the scenes threaten to leave the spectators with the sense that there is no alternative or solution to the human capacity for desire and corruption. Yet, we are given some relief when the action is broken up by readings of poems, verbatim text and the image of Beatriz Sertorio slowly building a fortress of stones downstage-left.
The performance begins with a contemplative, domestic scene; questions about the injustice of the EU crisis are read out repetitively and rhythmically by actor Valter Nogueria. Later as the energy and grotesquery begins to intensify, there is a lull as the actors read out a series of famous letters taken verbatim from Greek children about their hopes for the future and their questions about systemic problems in society. The increasing sense of powerlessness within the piece, the idea that we are drones driven only by fear and yearning, are momentarily challenged by the voices of Greek youth being channelled by the actors. This was further punctuated by the youth of Sifnos standing present in the auditorium, their movements audibly ringing out as they clap in unison against the wall. The multiplicities of voices collide and crash into a chorus of chaos as the zombie drones and blindfolded performers bumble around the stage. At this point the actors infiltrated the audience, blindfolding two of the spectators to lead them onstage. In fact I was one of them. It was likely that the audience picked up on our feeling that we were alone on a stage full of people, standing amongst the actors, who were drinking, dancing and leaping into a Dionysian frenzy. The contrasting energies of the performers and us at this point highlighted the concept of our own self-isolation in a world of rapid change and constant flux.
And this is where they left us. To contemplate whether our future is in the hands of characters like Steve No-jobs; allowing ourselves to be led by others and our desires, or alternatively, using our voices and the power of words to determine our own fate.