There is a blindness…
A show which takes on one big issue faces a challenge. A show which takes on multiple issues, an even bigger one. A show which takes on how we ourselves take on these issues, the biggest. Ambitious and articulate, CapaTaro Theatre’s Glaucoma perhaps takes on too much.
People are blind to the problems before them: homelessness, environmentalism, consumerism. The list goes on. Who will take these issues on? Refusing to be blind any longer, three women rebel against the systems enabling this and find themselves imprisoned. This is their story and the story of those they represent, as they speak out through speech, song and movement.
Previously playing at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden, Glaucoma forms part of the site-sensitive festival Basic Space. Taking place in Safehouse 2, the smaller of the two venues in Peckham, the design is both intimate and intimidating. This is a prison of sorts, no doubt: confined to one room, even the sheets they sleep in are claustrophobic, entrapping and suffocating them. The audience sits slightly removed in an adjoining room, almost as a jury or watching an execution.
Initially, the women speak and dance the same way, at the same time, united in one goal. Polished and entrancing, it creates a modern Greek chorus feel to the piece. Ines Sampaio makes for a driven leader, not blind to the problems but deaf to her friends. Alice Wolff-Whitehouse is fragile and ethereal, and Eleanor Hurrell is sensitive but strong. Leah Kirby takes on multiple roles in this ‘system’ against them. These are caricatures and heightened versions of familiar faces, which Kirby plays in spades: dark, demented and downright funny!
While the women are united at the start, this soon changes as the show progresses. Some stay committed to the cause, but others start to question if they have taken on too much. You can’t help but feel like CapaTaro have done too. There are so many ideas in this play: politics, pressure points and more are discussed, all through dance, song and speech. At points, it seems it’s the cause not the characters which are more important. Although, perhaps that’s the point…