Union House Theatre’s Megaphone Democracy is a provocative piece of original theatre that captivates the audience through masterful stagecraft. I wasn’t quite sure how this production was going to be presented but it definitely exceeded my expectations.
When you walk into the Guild Theatre smoke encompasses the whole space so you can’t see the stage. The performance begins with horizontally spaced spotlights illuminating the choreography of the cast’s hands and arms. This choreography is paired with a soundtrack that highlights recent protests and democratic movements that have happened around the world. Jenny Hector (Lighting Designer) and Marco Cher-Gibard (Sound Designer) create the real focal points of this sequence, as the clever choreography is only made possible by the beautifully curated lighting and sound design.
Before the show began every audience member was given an mp3 player and headphones. After this short performance in the Guild Theatre we were taken outside, where we were instructed to put our headphones on. The sound was the most important part of this stage of the performance and though I tend to be quite a visual person, the use of sound along with the simple visuals of people dressed entirely in black proved insightful and captivating.
The next stage involved the consideration of memes and promoted audience interaction. This was a highlight as the audience was able to participate in the performance, and express their opinion and democratic voice. We then continued walking around campus where minimalistic performances were taking places, whilst the focus remained on stories being told through the headphones we were provided with.
The show ended by allowing audience members to write a problem they had on hand-shaped piece of paper which someone else later took so the they could provide a ‘helping hand’. It was an excellent reflection of the idea that everyone has problems that they need help with, some bigger than others, and everyone is capable of offering help to those in need.
Megaphone Democracy is an impressive show that is exceptionally captivating, interesting and almost dystopian in its presentation. The audience is confronted with the dystopian realities of their own world, which really brings home the main idea that it is important for people to use their voice in whatever way possible. The cast of this production worked in perfect harmony as an ensemble and the use of sound, lighting, props and performance space lifted the calibre of the entire show. This was an intriguing piece of theatre from beginning to end, which prompts the audience to look at their own relationship with democracy and how they use their voice. Megaphone Democracy is free to watch and on until the 21st of May, I would definitely recommend you go and see it!
UHT’s Megaphone Democracy is on until May 21st in the Guild Theatre.
Photo: Sarah Walker