BREAKING OUT 1 & 2 | The Bunker, London

A double bill of innovative new theatre, exploring themes of civil disobedience, disability and what we owe to one another and the state.

The first of these two fascinating plays is Libby’s Eyes, an exploration of disability and personhood set in a near-future dystopia. Libby (played by visually-impaired comedian Georgie Morrell) has applied for ‘functioning status’, and has been issued with a small robot to describe her surroundings for her. Meanwhile, her also-blind father Ron (Adam Elms) considers giving in, and allowing himself to be categorised as ‘non-functioning’, forfeiting all rights and becoming essentially a non-person.

When Libby’s robot guide begins to develop sentience – and a sarcastic and profane sense of humour to match – we are led to question the very meaning of the term ‘defective’. And as the show devolves into ever-more-meta drama, we are forced to examine our own expectations. Is it right to demand that anyone be an inspiration?

Second on the bill is Nine Foot Nine, in which a young couple are confronted with the dual terrors of pregnancy, and of an unexplained phenomenon whereby the female population of the earth suddenly grow to over nine feet tall. Mother Cara must decide between her family and the burgeoning revolution; father Nate must face the challenges of raising a teenager who grows to almost double his size.

Both plays are mediated through the lens of disability. Libby’s Eyes is narrated by an audio describer, whose impartiality is quickly shown to be questionable. Nine Foot Nine is acted in front of a screen showing subtitles, as its principle character, Cara, expresses herself in a mix of sign language and sometimes somewhat slurred speech. Both offer an insight into how theatre can, and must, adapt to fit the multiplicity of voices in today’s society.

If this is the future of theatre, then tomorrow’s plays will be not only inclusive, but also thought-provoking, powerful and dazzlingly imaginative.

7pm and 8:30pm, on Mondays and Thursdays, as part of BREAKING OUT (until 7 July 2018).

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