If there was ever one
To whom you could cry;
Who would gather each tear
And blow it dry…
Lemn Sissay, “Invisible Kisses”
For its current show, Sharing Stages, Chikenshed Theatre is teaming up with such organisations as Amnesty International, Barnardo’s and a dozen more – to relay their message.
It comes together as two hours of visually and emotionally consistent puzzle – dancing, theatre, poetry, – arranged into a dozen sketches each designed to convey the message that the collaborating partner and Chickenshed have created together.
The idea was to condense a lifetime of work into a few minutes of a scene. The result is a well-choreographed, perfectly-paced show arranged to keep you entertained and invested in the constantly changing sketches.
The stories performed on stage are about social issues, that, akin to the rope used in one of the scenes, entangle us – and connect.
Like growing up with first-hand experience of adoption and fostering – but not knowing if this family will keep you.
Like the phrases we repeat – and hide behind to avoid a direct talk, to blame and victimise.
Like longing for love and acceptance – and lacking it tragically.
Like growing up – and growing away from our dreams.
Health, abandonment, anxiety, self-hate – all parts of our messy existence usually get stacked up into statistical data that is so easy to operate (and manipulate). Here they are taken out of that dehumanising context and broken back up into a dozen short plays. We see the person behind the routine-numbing statistics.
The show is made out of subdued, warm colours – mostly blue and green, – used craftily to convey the warmth of the message: life is messy and confusing, but we can make it better.
Visually inciting, simple stories work for the audience because they so relatable and touch on the most intimate hardships we’ve been in our lives.
To get over all of this, they say, there is a starting point.
Let’s make it easier, shall we? Let’s engage in this tender and troublesome business of being alive – and keep fighting. Because there is someone,
…Who would offer help
On the mountains of time;
Who would stop to let each sunset
Soothe the jaded mind.
“Sharing Stages” is on for another week.
Image credit: Chickenshed.