Are You Numb Yet?
Anthony and Kel Matsena
Matsena Performance Theatre
A typical production of Shakespeare lasts three hours, while the Edinburgh Festival Fringe standard has long been a single hour.
As Zoo TV has been proving, it is quite possible to make a serious and memorable statement in a matter of minutes.
Are You Numb Yet?, a mixed-media combination of dance and political theatre with film from Matsena Performance Theatre, runs at around 7½ minutes but still packs a mighty punch, almost literally.
This dystopian drama, beautifully filmed by Alex Hermon and enhanced by Ryan Joseph Stafford’s dramatic lighting design, starts off with a protest that is not socially distanced but enjoys the Prime Minister’s notorious +, since everyone involved is appropriately masked.
It is not hard to imagine that the initial inspiration has been the Black Lives Matter movement on both sides of the Atlantic.
Swiftly, what starts off as a loud but peaceful attempt to make a political point descends into violence as the protesters are attacked by unknown representatives of the legal system.
From there, constantly asking the question in the title, the company raises issues around the risks that people will take to support what they believed to be an important cause and the efforts of the lawmakers or possibly renegade opponents to stifle them.
A highly professional film, written, choreographed and directed by Anthony and Kel Matsena, combines performance, speech (occasionally barely audible), edgy music composed by Lara Agar and impressive imagery to great effect.
It would only take a few minutes of your life to watch this powerful drama but they will be well invested in something that could literally change and improve that life and those of so many others.
Reviewer: Philip Fisher