DDF News — 29 May 2017

Guest review 5: Fiona Hallinan on ‘Extraterrestrial Events’

Guest review 5: Fiona Hallinan on ‘Extraterrestrial Events’

Our blood is red but this is blue, the opposite colour. Blue is the furthest thing away from us, a colour we can't imagine running in a worldly body, a safe colour to use in ads for sanitary towels. It's the colour of external phenomena - sea and sky and experiments.

There are four bodies lying on the ground, heaving. Their breath fills the big black space and I sense the audience around me bristle with discomfort. Why is it so affecting? It's hard to watch and to hear. They seem helpless, beached. The hyperventilating evolves into the discernible and then back again to rhythm. I recognise my own body flinching in empathy, or pain, or awkwardness. A reflex that could be to reach out and help or to get the hell away. They retch, and it feels contagious. The sound of vomiting can be enough to make you vomit.

The director walks on stage. I like this mischief. He has a black cup and he looks at us and I wonder has something gone wrong. Then, what's he doing still there? Is he to be trusted? Is that a cup? Is he one of us or one of them?

It turns out I have the best seat in the place, one row back, in the middle, behind an empty seat. It's only empty sometimes though, when she's on stage. She's our witness. She seems to see some of what we see, but who knows. Does she notice them caressing behind her, can she interpret their symbols, or see them at all? Their presence surely moves her. Her voice is powerful and beautiful and she is holding a torch, at us and we're blinded, then at her face and she's awesome scary, then to her neck and then to her chest where the light is extinguished. Everything we see is immaculately synchronised: movement, sound, light.

She's communicating in another language, translated, and she remembers specific details but always loses it a bit when it comes to the point of the story. Her fear renders the message amorphous. A membrane or a jelly? It's hard to blame her though, in a universe where nothing can be predicted, where indescribable goop falls from the sky and touches come at you in the dark.