Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation – Dublin Theatre Festival – Review
Venue – Samuel Beckett Theatre
Until Oct 6th
There is always a sense of entering into the unknown when a stage is set up as per this production. There are two circles of seats set up around a central void where the action takes place. On each seat, there is a book. It is a hardbound publication with a green cover. On the outside is the title of the book, the easy to remember ‘Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation’. From a brief glance through the book, you can see it’s a collection of text and black and white images, with the illustrations the creation of set designer Rachana Jadhav.
Susan Vidler is the first actor to emerge onto the stage. She tells us that the book is the text of the performance we are about to see, and we can only change pages when she gives us permission. Her serious face tells us that there is to be no skipping head! She also tells us that the audience is expected to participate in the performance and to read passages when requested!
Audience participation is always a difficult issue at the theatre. Some love the chance to take their moment in the limelight, whereas others will studiously stare at the text of the book, not willing to move their eyes upwards for fear of attracting the attention of an actor at just the wrong moment! In actual fact, the text of this performance is quite straight forward and it is no stretch for anyone to read the few short passages required, even if your heart does race a little!
The plot of this story is about a cult that believe the world is coming to an end. They are living in a compound somewhere in South America and are waiting for the end of days. A woman breaks into the compound and confronts a young girl called Sol who is resting in the long grass, just before the start of the final ceremony! Their discussion forms the centrepiece of the performance.
The use of the book forms an interesting change from the usual dynamic of the stage. The audience is in some ways invested in the work, and it does help hold your attention, as you are aware you could be requested to read at any moment! The main plot line is an interesting topic and the introduction of the final actor, Tim Crouch, does add to the piece, like we are all cult members counting down the minutes to Armageddon. The plot line could have done with a few more twists and turns to really engage the audience, but the structure and style of the work is quite novel.
Produced by – National Theatre of Scotland in association with the Royal Court Theatre, Teatro do Bairro Alto, Lisbon and Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, UK and Portugal
Written by Tim Crouch
Directed by Karl James and Andy Smith
Illustrator and Set Designer: Rachana Jadhav
Lighting Designer: Karen Bryce
Sound Designer: Pippa Murphy
Artistic Associate: Adura Onashile
Casting Director: Laura Donnelly, CDG
BSL Performance Interpreter: Yvonne Strain
Producer: Eileen O’Reilly
Production Manager: Siobhán Barbour
Stage Manager: Emma Skaer
Technical Manager: Hana Allen
Sound Supervisor: Neil Hobbs
Cast Includes: Shyvonne Ahmmad, Tim Crouch, Susan Vidler