signdancetheatre for children
HALF A PENNY Works In Progress -
Pedro De Senna irina Kaplan
Isolte Avila Lila
Schwammerlin, David Bower
One of the most interesting performances of the 7th Ethos Festival was undoubtedly "Half a Penny"" performed by Signdance Collective.
The work, bearing a resemblance to John Gay's "The Beggar's Opera" and Brecht's epic theatre, employs theatre-music-dance-body and sign language to show that we should never forget that we are human beings, live befitting this, have the power to change the system causing wars, and should fight for our rights and freedom. They also use body and sign language to create a universal language that caters and enfolds all -including those who are hearing impaired.
The first part "Half a Penny" deals with political pressure, citizenship, predetermined roles enforced on people, consumerism, freedom, revolt and being 'human'. The visuals such as Thatcher, Churchill, Luther King, Bush, Reagan, slavery, half a penny repesenting the system are projected on the stage when a well dressed orator comes to delivers a speech composed of political cliches. Meanwhile Vox Populi and sign language interpreter Citizen Vox interferes (distorting, mocking, imitating). While the audience drifts to another world filled with music and dance Citizen Vox's lines are very effective and provocative:
"You may take refuge in stereotypes, but you cannot hide there long. There is only one question to be asked: Are you human? And this is the right question: Are you human? [...] You are human. You have not earned cruelty and you do not deserve meanness. You won't benefit from being isolated or treating each other as outcasts. [...] You do not need to make a great noise about it. With the silence and dignity of creators you can end wars and the system of selfishness and exploitation that causes wars. All you need to do to bring about this stupendous revolution is to straighten up and fold your arms
. ETHOS FESTIVAL