Friday, May 3, 2024

Humans 2.0 by Circa


 Humans 2.0 by Circa.  Canberra Theatre Centre Playhouse, May 2-4 2024.

Reviewed by Frank McKone
Opening Night May 2

Director Yaron Lifschitz
Original Music Ori Lichtik; Lighting Designer Paul Jackson
Costume Design Libby McDonnell; Technical Director Jason Organ
Danielle Kellie / Circa Australia & New Zealand
Photos: Lesley Martin; David Kelly

Performed by 10 Circa acrobats

Humans 2.0 is incredible – it is truly unbelievable that this company of dance-drama gymnasts can maintain such energy, such discipline, such complexity of choreography, such humour, and so often create such fear and relief in us, for a straight 70 minutes – and look so much at ease during our ecstatic applause for the group as a whole and for each individual performer in their curtain call.

I had wondered about the title – Humans Two Point Zero – and now I understand its layers of meaning.

The play begins with separated beings and ends with the creation of community.  Humans 1.0, through seeking sincere self-expression and all the possible ways of linking with others – with absolute trust, deep respect, and equal recognition – become Humans 2.0.

At that level, the work of art is the model for us all.  This is human community at its best.  This is what the world should look like.  What we all wish it would look like.  What it could look like.  If only we humans really tried.

Then what is absolutely stunning is to realise that this company of performers actually tried and really succeed as Humans 2.0.  We could see in each performer their personal dedication to self-expression through movement.  We saw their absolute trust in each other, as people were literally flung and caught across the space and balanced up to four high.  We could see the deep respect everyone had for everyone else – forming a bond with enormous strength, emotionally as well as in physical form.

In this company balanced in numbers of women and men, we saw all as equals – in gymnastic skills, in taking real risks, in being supported – and especially in initiating moves and taking responsibility.

Their show is not just an acting out of an idea, as entertainment or even as a moral tale.  Their ensemble teamwork is a demonstration of sincere theatre, which works so well because of the real bond the group has formed in creating the work.

As I left the theatre, returning to concerns with current issues in our society – about coercive control, men’s belief in their entitlement, and their killing of women, for example – I wished that it were possible for everyone in the world to see Circa’s Humans 2.0.  And learn to become Humans, Two Point Zero – please!

Humans 2.0 by Circa