Theatre- an artform inheritantly voyeuristic – relying on witnesses in order to exist- is a perfect place in which ideas about surveillance, presence and what it means to be watched can be pulled apart, examined and reconnstructed.

Since the rise of paranoia from governements across the world- and the heightening of security (or perhaps the need of “a sense of”) in streets, on buses, in lifts- the Orwellian Big Brother emerges. What appeared to be a futuristic fantasy is now not only present- but a vehicle for the rise of the “reality TV” celebrity. We are a generation who is constantly under watch- we encourage others to watch us through our facebook status- there is a flattery about being on screens – watching us walk through train gates… we are a curious animal- curious about ourselves in the wider context of the world and perhaps now more than ever as camera surveliance multiplies, and implies the danger which is other people.

The DeConverters lead by fearless Jane Grimley, is a group of performers including Grant Moxom, Amy Wanless, Jaya Sound, Sam Duncan and Sacha Harrison and media artists- Daniel Brown, Sacha Cohen and Ben Storey who have spent months collaborating, workshoping and devising The Witness in The Wall.
This is the first prouction by the DeConverters who have chosen to launch their tour of this piece at Newtown Theatre. For those who remember Newtown Theatre as “The Edge”- home of Kinetic Energy Theatre company for some time- this style of work is not an unusual fit for this space- but for those more familiar with Newtown Theatre as the home of Short and Sweet it may be a surprise for you to attend this style of performance in this venue.

Weaving audio visual materials, live sound (a very evocative harmonica), text (spoken and projected) , Witness in the Wall is a series of vignettes which seek to explore what it means to be watched. This is not the type of performance in which there is a linear narrative- but a collage of ideas and sentiments and moments wherein te performers move through a sequence of mundane and then extraordinary moments- performance as a living gallery of ideas and actions. Playing with the connection between audience and performer- a small segment of direct address is largely terrifying for audiences who enjoy being in the sweetness of the darkness of the audience seating.

Though I must declare that I appreciated many moments of The Witness in The Wall, especially the opening video projection which felt largely like star gazing, the major ideas that came across to me, was not necessarilly the effect of surveillance- but the disconnect people feel in a society where in we are busy watching each other. Through watching we can feel lonely, disconnected, removed from each other… through watching we are alone.

This is a really unique and interesting piece of performance- and depending on where you are in your own headspace- it will reach you in someway, somewhere about what it means to be present and particpating in a world where we are constantly looking out in order to understand what is within.

More Info:
$10-$20 Rock on up Tuesday-Saturday until September 26th
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