Intrigued by an advert sporting eight foot high library filing cabinets and two smartly dressed bare foot gentlemen prancing between them, we just had to go and sample this theatrical encounter.
Gecko Theatre brought ‘Institute’ to the Lighthouse in Poole, a perfect theatre for this physically and emotionally layered production. Tasked with exploring human interaction at a time where people are feeling more disconnected than ever, I feel there were some successes here.
We are introduced to the characters one by one. The first pulls out a filing cabinet drawer, when the boss isn’t looking, to reveal a table at a restaurant. He indulges in a broken memory of a past lover with just her hands on show. Another gentleman peeks at his own memories with only reflections of lights and sounds filtering to the audience from a partially opened drawer. These two greet then dart between their constrained panicked existence in the presence of their boss and their own relaxed harmonious working step.
The scenes following really resonated too. The father in the shadows repeatedly falling into his death bed as his front door moved further and further from his son’s grasp. A bewildered worker slowly dragged and moulded towards a lofty promotion in the company. Atop his pillar he looked down in astonishment like he’s not sure how he got there.
I feel the performance flowed well in the beginning but thematically tumbled a little too darkly towards the end. If they evened out the mix of emotions presented, I feel this production would be a must-see. To its credit the innovation of the groups’ physical performance along with the artistic use of the cabinets to create mini sets on stage was spectacular. It undulated in rhythmic harmony and then morphed into jagged conflict seamlessly and definitely left you with a lasting memory. I am definitely looking forward to their next offering.
Words by Christy Boxall.
Video and images from the Gecko website.