Written for The Stage
Border Crossings’ new show explores the role of technology in our understanding of reality alongside the experiences of two Chinese generations – from those who grew up within the Cultural Revolution to those within the internet one.
Questions of communication, both between East and West and old China and new, haunt this opaque show and it works best in the less obvious and more abstract moments rather than in the slightly stilted expressions of narrative. The stillness in each cast member lends an edge to the performances which is hypnotic, but the overt emotionalism occasionally feels stilted.
With delicate video work from Dori Deng and enough live video streaming to keep Katie Mitchell happy, Consumed is a multimedia feast. An atmospheric score by Dave Carey is evocative of the urban melding of East and West personified in Blade Runner.
Chapter titles frame each scene in an effect that is both Brechtian and reminiscent of Martin Crimp’s Attempts On Her Life. But Consumed is not derivative. In a piece that blends the future with the past, Michael Walling and his cast have devised a show that is distinctly Chinese and for many Western eyes promises to be alien and utterly unique.
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