More truly immersive than most traditionally ‘immersive’ shows.
Valentijn Dhaenen, invites us, on a largely bare stage with a monolithic structure in the centre (in yet another nod to Kubrick), to imagine the minute details of this new world, of rats and insects reclaiming the spaces we inhabited and the slow erosion of the theatre we’re sitting in, as well as the massive philosophical questions that this new world poses. A world without humanity is also a world without human concepts such as time; 500 years (or 25 generations to humanity) can be summed up in a single lighting transition until only the theatre’s emergency light is left on before we’re plunged into darkness. The effect of all this is that it is more truly immersive than most traditionally ‘immersive’ shows.
However, this serenity seems to belie some more pressing concerns of the company, namely: if humanity does indeed manage to leave behind a legacy, what will it be? Bookending Dhaenen’s monologue is the content from the Voyager space capsule with messages of peace and greetings in multiple languages at the beginning and images of humanity’s scientific discoveries and a letter from President Jimmy Carter at the end. This tangible evidence of humanity’s attempts to maintain a legacy long after its extinction perfectly contrasts with Dhaenen’s musings to make us wonder if it’s even worth worrying about it.
Like I said, it doesn’t offer any easy answers but much like Kubrick’s masterpiece it’s all the better for it.