Black Holes – Edinburgh Fringe

‘Black Holes’ unravels the secrets of how our universe was made and how life evolved, but unfortunately loses me in its abstraction.

Choreographed by Seke Chimutengwende and Alexandrina Hemsley, ‘Black Holes’ is a speculative performance that aims to represent how people of colour will experience future society, and if racist prejudice will continue to weight down on their bodies and souls, despite the fact that we all may become nothing more than disembodied consciousnesses.

It’s a great concept, however the delivery seems disjointed, lost in a muddle of repeated dialogue and box-pushing. It feels as though there is something just out of my grasp with the piece, unable to comprehend the significance of the arrangement of shapes on the stage. While individually the spoken word aspects of the production and the dancing are brilliant demonstrations of the simultaneous control and energy of performers Chimutengwende and Moleya, I find myself unable to understand it as a whole ensemble.

Perhaps this is on purpose. The whirling words and twitching dance moves potentially illustrate how scattered and disconnected our senses of humanity will become when the heat death of the solar system approaches. The pressures that black men and women face maybe materialise as these tarp-covered crates that must be heaved around inexplicably, a constant obstacle; repeated monologues are a stand-in for the way in which time seems to repeat itself, before swallowing us whole.

Like a lot of performance art, especially physical theatre and dance, symbolism and mood are sometimes difficult to access. Undeniable, however, is the intense weight of the show – the darkness of the stage and the hum of music, and the somewhat strained expressions of the actors, really convey a sense of dread and claustrophobia as society crumbles, and the sun evaporates the world. The atmosphere created is fantastic.

I am still interested in what these two creators make in the future, as I think that they have a compelling style, despite it’s strangeness and my initial confusion. ‘Black Holes’ is apocalyptic and unsettling, with fragments of explosive movement that reveal a deeper, thriving liveliness underneath. I have been talking about this show for days, considering the themes and conversations that it provokes, and for that, it has to be considered a success.

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Zoe Robertson

Literature student at The University of Edinburgh - interested in new writing and voices.

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