Listen. We’re all scared. We’re all in this together: a striking remark, yet one we’re all too familiar with.
This Thursday evening, we really were all in it together at Camden People’s Theatre. Walk With Me, an interactive performance among many debuting as part of SPRINT Festival 2016, was all about togetherness: working together in the theatre and working together in the world. The show questions our failure to respond to the migrant crisis, an appropriate topic following the dismantling of part of the camp this past week, and offers a brief history of recent social and political inequality across the globe.
As the 20th anniversary of SPRINT, a well-established cultural and theatrical platform for the weird and wonderful in London, CPT showcases some of the newest and most experimental theatre from across the UK.
Walk With Me is a work in progress. The cast sat within the audience reading from their script and had the audience connecting with one another. We passed several moments staring into the eyes of our neighbour. What we were looking for wasn’t exactly made clear, but what did become obvious was how difficult it is to maintain eye contact with complete strangers. Perhaps Look With Me might have been a more suitable title for the production, as it begged you to open your eyes and start… well, seeing. Or maybe even Listen With Me, as it demanded we start communicating and listening to one another.
A chalk map of Europe overlapping Brixton and the refugee Camp in Calais was drawn centre-stage and gradually destroyed towards the end of the production. There was something exceedingly therapeutic about seeing the map wiped away, as if to represent a new start or a clean slate. It is true that the world is falling apart. So, how do we pull together? Is change possible?
In terms of theatrical production, the show is quite low scoring since it lacked any real direction. However, in terms of social commentary, Walk With Me successfully forces you to engage with painful issues we are so unwilling to face in our daily lives.