I prejudged Justice in Motion to be a somewhat pretentious title for a theatre company. Sometimes it is good to discover how wrong one's prejudices can be! Justice in Motion is precisely what the group is about. If pictures are worth a thousand words, then the live experience of movement theatre of this quality must be worth a library of volumes. The subject matter, human trafficking, is hardly 'light entertainment', but no one in the audience tonight will regret a millisecond of insights opened by this production.
The Pegasus saw early versions of this work four years ago. It made a deep impression on audiences then, but Anja Meinhardt, Emma Webb and Daniel Rejano have enhanced the piece into its evolved state - devising more ways to stimulate empathy with the main characters. This version has a brilliant set by Simon Dorman enabling visual metaphors to be created and layered into a complex theatrical representation of the enslaved situation. Pure visual allegory! Dialogue is minimal where it is not needed. Suggestive patterns of movement and music are used to communicate directly - viscerally with the audience. The 70 minute play appears to have taken us on a much longer journey than that of which we are aware; a theatrical shortcut to the very heart of the matter.
Startling shock sound and visual images, (including a stark twisted dangling female) followed by an explosive crescendo announce the journey. We then cut to a somewhat prolonged mundane description of a simple woman's (Emma Webb) trip on the bus to be interviewed for a management position in a hotel. Then we see another woman in the bloom of life enjoying her small daughter (Anja Meinhardt). A frenetic half-starved labourer (Daniel Rejano) is the third character. Though cryptic, relationships are perceived and a narrative of sorts begins.
The three artists are all gifted dancers. They express conflicting emotions expertly with convoluted movements which sometimes coincide, illustrating common traits. For a fraction of time there is a trio of distinctly-unrelated individuals. It emerges that all are exploited, all are anonymous, all are deluded and live dream lives divorced from the reality of their enslavement. They begin to interact with each other; at first with no understanding or empathy. Later hope comes from the realisation that, despite their separateness, links suddenly emerge. Tiny acts of disassociated kindness, attempts to communicate - with words/without words - display the potential for relating. Hope is never completely lost.
One scene uses sand for two characters to reach across to each other. There is a constant ephemeral threat of transience. Metaphors merge into metaphors. It is simply wonderful!
It is rare, absorbing, sensual theatre which ideally fits its sombre message. I strongly recommend anyone interested in the human condition to see/hear/feel it. It is anything but pretentious, presenting a window one might not choose to look through in a way that makes one glad they did. The "open sore of the world" is no more bearable, though the journey of this play does help one understand with considerably more empathy. On a day when world leaders appeared indifferent to the real problems of individuals caught up in their political systems, the theatre was exactly the right place to be.
The sponsors of the play persuaded me that we can make a difference. The company deserved the long appreciative ovation. It is not to be missed.