As If No One Is Watching is a reminder of why community circus is not only important but necessary. Vulcana Circus has a strong history of representing and giving voice to women from all walks of life.
Age, body shape, performance experience and ethnicity don’t matter here. I am glad for it. These things can traditionally limit what we get to see, which leads to some important stories being left off the stage. Much like any Vulcana class, you walk into, there is no judgment in this show. All stories and all feelings are valid. The space to explore this is provided to all punters. And consequently, great art is made.
This is As If‘s second season, presented as part of the 2019 Anywhere Theatre Festival. The show is set at the beautiful sprawling lawns of Newstead House and you see how this version of this show is a perfect fit for this festival.
As the show begins we are taken around the corner of the balcony where the audience is instructed to open up a web page on their mobile phones. Through the website, the audience is able to access audio tracks that take them on an immersive yet personal journey through the inner thoughts of ten different women.
Each woman has taken her own place among the beauty of Newstead House and the audience is able to choose their own journey for the first part of the show. Via their smartphone, punters can choose a photo of each performer, which provides them with access to audio of their inner monologues. Dual options are presented, so you are given the choice of which version you want to hear or to overlap both tracks. This is truly a genius use of tech in this site work. In a world we are not connecting because of these devices it is a nice twist that it was what is required to in this show.
The structure of this show creates a unique personal theatre experience that can not be replicated. Each performer uses circus and physical theatre to embody their story on the website. Each punter then is able to choose their own way to experience this work and I think that is where the beauty lies and why I would see this again.
Community circus has the power to heal. This is prevalent tonight. There is an authentic and honest exchange between the performers and the audience, which, in turn, takes away their judgment, and helps them to connect to the truth of their stories and experiences. As If showcases the diversity of these women’s experiences, including the mundane life that forced upon us, our inner demons and how we can take back the night. There is something that everyone will be able to connect with here, and I dare anyone to not be moved by what they see.
As If showcases once again Vulcana’s commitment to giving voice to women and to the marginalised through circus and the power of circus to tell such stories. I look forward to their next work.
Pearl Thompson saw As If No One Is Watching on Friday 17 May as part of Anywhere Theatre Festival.
As If No One Is Watching was originally performed as a two-part performance in collaboration with WaW Dance, with a living gallery and ensemble production. Read our review of the original production here. Read more about Director Celia White’s process here.
Director | Celia White
Performers | Brittany Brown, Eunice Poon, Georgia Bale, Velvet Pesu, Kati Murphy, Nadia Jade, Sabrina Talbot, Sally Walker, Shona McKenzie, Trang Ho Vanessa Thomas
Sound recordings | Anna Whittaker
Digital designer | Line 26
Original production Assistant Director | Wendy McPhee
Images | Rod Noendeng