Animation. Live music. Performance. How can storytelling reach its fullest potential?
In 2005, innovative creators Paul Barritt, Suzanne Andrade and Lillian Henley created a theatre company unlike any other: 1927. These multi-talented artists merged performance, animation, and live music and have had massive success with their many productions – including the current tour of Golem.
Golem is a mixed medium piece about the life of siblings Annie and Robert and how their world is flipped upside down. Robert buys Golem, a clay figure brought to life by magic and quickly changes his lifestyle as Golem manipulates his decisions.
The piece acts as a mirror to society’s current obsession with social media, dating, and consumerism. We immediately drop our traditions, empathy, kindness, and connections as we become superficial and self-centered in a tech-heavy world.
The clear, colorful, and versatile animation of Paul Barritt was unbeatable. Lillian Henley’s composition was comedic, detailed and well-suited to every scenario the piece presented. Suzanne Andrade uses a style of writing and directing that is engaging, to the point, and unbelievably specific stylistically.
The cast created a powerful ensemble and presented no weak links. Their vocal work and distinct physicalities brought the audience into an alternate reality that displayed the many flaws of our own.
Although the piece was compelling, it could be updated to a certain degree. It was originally written by Andrade years ago and premiered in 2014. The topic of the machine taking over our world has been discussed for years now, in many ways overly discussed, so a lot of the early portion of the piece felt a bit unnecessary. Around twenty minutes of the piece could be cut which would make the climactic moments more impactful.
As the piece goes on the content becomes more shocking, and only really becomes transcending in the last 10 to 15 minutes of the piece. These moments would be that much more influential if the piece was updated to match today’s intense and dark events. Huge strides have changed in technology and in politics between 2014 and 2017 and the piece would be that much more relevant if it reflected that.
On the whole, Golem was inventive, reflective, and powerfully energized. It is refreshing for anyone that enjoys animation, live music, comedy, or physical clowning. Suzanne Andrade uses a healthy mix of dramatic tools and her piece will continue its success as it finishes its legs of its current world tour.