Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow
- Liam Rees
- 13 August 2019
Original object theatre for a post-capitalist future
Slavoj Zizek once lamented that 'it's easy to imagine the end of the world, but we cannot imagine the end of capitalism'. Fortunately for the human race, Anorak Theatre prove themselves to be more creative than the Slovenian philosopher with their Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow in which performer Hannah Batt wakes up in a post-capitalist, post-scarcity, robo-communist utopia. How did she get there? No one can remember but that's not what Anorak are investigating. The point of EPCoT is to create a space to play with the possibilities of post-capitalist society.
Presumably influenced by Peter Frase's theory of Four Possible Futures for humanity after capitalism, EPCoT feels like a playful exploration of Frase's optimistic vision of a society that has undergone an ideological shift as well as a technological one. Instead of trying to mimic an aesthetic that doesn't yet exist, Anorak cannily use object theatre to encourage our imaginations. The everyday objects are at once familiar yet also relics in a potential future museum, but at the same time they fill in for people, forests, solar panels and much more, in a nod to forced entertainment.
Structurally, the show feels closer to a video game like Minecraft, rewarding creativity and curiosity over conflict and competition. The received wisdom is that conflict is necessary in theatre, but perhaps in a post-scarcity society's theatre where there's no need for conflict, it can be a space for pure play instead. EPCoT feels like a glimpse into the future and, for once, I'm optimistic.
ZOO Playground, until 17 Aug, 12.50pm, £6 (£5).