Lorde’s bop ‘Perfect Places’ came up on my Spotify when I was walking home from this show and I couldn’t help but smile at how seamlessly the lyrics mirrored what I’d just seen. “What the [redacted] are perfect places anyway?” the New Zealander sings, and Anorak’s latest show – EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) – asks the same question. What will our future world look like? Will it be worth it? Is future ‘perfection’ always going to be marred by the nastiness of yesterday? In 30 minutes, this one-woman show concludes not to conclude, and just to wait and hope and see.
After accidentally falling asleep for one thousand years, our performer awakes to a society that has been swallowed by vegetation, yet still develops advanced technology and software. The immediate appearance of food-like-things on-command or a full-time contract spanning only five hours are now the norm. However, having been transported so suddenly from the past, she struggles to settle down and, crucially, understand what happened to the world she left behind.
There are no answers to be found, only museums displaying scraps of plastic in boxes and, what appears to be, blissful ignorance. This society is literally constructed as the story progresses, out of empty cartons, torches, half-eaten fruit, and floppy disks. Not only does this emphasise the idea of rebuilding from the waste of the past, it also highlights that, regardless of how much repurposing is done, the struggles of yesterday are always going to be incorporated into the now.
It’s a sweet idea and the performance is charming, however when performed in almost total darkness with a narration playing in the background, I can’t help but feel disconnected. It does a lot of telling, a lot of musing, and it is thought-provoking, however it is nevertheless aimless. Its intent is clear: to raise awareness of climate change and think about our impact on the future. Still, it doesn’t dip its toe into the nuance I was anticipating.
Utopia seems to be on the horizon, but it’s not very welcoming, as its detachment from history is alienating and unpleasant. The present is cynical and deteriorating, but familiar and home. These conflicting perspectives make me feel that, in the end, neither this company nor I know what to think about this.
EPCOT runs until the 17th of August – buy tickets here.
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