Back to the Jerwood space – transformational, the scene is a complete change to what I have seen previously here.
Looking down on a modern, clean, almost Ikea like garden space, there are large windows, a barbecue spreading delicious smells and 6 actors going their ‘daily’ business.
Human Animals looks at the progression of an apocalyptic world and how easily the environment changes and how people can change when fearful and under threat. There is relation to the media and how it is portrayed, and in conversation, people’s discussion and opinion on this, with two sides of British reactions – either everything will be wonderful and will be fixed, or everything is entirely doomed.
These 6 actors give a wonderful performance, each with a character of substance and likelihood of change. We firstly are eased into the character’s, who they are, what they do, their personalities, our relation to these aspects. Once hysteria hits, it’s hard to not continue relating to them, questioning if this would be how you would react if it seemed that the world was slowly ending.
The layout of the production and the slow progression from normality to chaos and back to some resemblance to normality reminded me of watching animals in a zoo – things happen and instincts take over but there’s nothing you can do to help and no escape – all you can do is keep watching it unfold. The only difference here being that there is no screen in front of us, the screen is behind them. Occasionally liquid in various uncomfortable colours is sprayed down it and a person in a hazmat suit comes along to perform fumigation on the otherside. We are put in this comfortable bubble, but with the disintegration of the characters’ lives, minds, health and relationships, are we really that safe?
There is no attempt to hide any of these blatant facts that this production puts into your mind – there is gore and there is shock factors that leaves you thinking, considering life as it is now and the likelihood of this being a prediction of the future. And this is good – there’s no point hiding it and you are forced to sit up, listen and relate.
Human Animals is not only astonishing, but honest. No American zombie killing heroes to the rescue here; natural environments under threat, real possible events that could unfold in reality, truthful reactions and consequences. The performance aims to make you think, see and listen.