Inspirational theatre can change the way you think

Kettlemag, Culture, Theatre, Gemma Hirst,
Written by GemmHirst

Nicole Kidman is back on the London stage, to play the British scientist Rosalind Franklin, who suffers with ovarian cancer, sexism and discovers the makings of DNA in the performance of Photograph 51.

Sounds like quite a challenge that Kidman has on her hands, the audience may look forward to an interesting yet inspiring piece of theatre.

So on the basis of that news, I was pondering over what has been the most inspirational performance that I have seen to date?

Theatre in my eyes should cause an emotional stir with the audience members, it should change their way of thinking of the way they see the world and inspire the audience to want to do more. 

Having recently seen The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night Time- on tour last month, I have never been able to stop thinking about it. 

Vasanthakumar on Flickr

The Olivier Award winner tells a story about 15 year old Christopher, as he finds Wellington (the neighbours’ dog) dead. He loves to record each fact and figure in his book and is curious to solve the mystery of who killed the dog.  

Christopher is a little naive about the big wide world not venturing out far from his front door; he lets his detective work take him further a field on a frightening journey of discovery.

The story itself is quite powerful and as cliché as it sounds, you go on an emotional rollercoaster with the characters, I know I was in floods of tears at the end *SPOILER ALERT* when he finally succeeds in finding out who murdered Wellington.  

Show and perfomance

The play was performed through his eyes, using physical theatre, staging, lighting and music- it was done beautifully. This performance not only changed my own perceptions of the way I view life but my perceptions of theatre itself. 

The show had a large set and was quite complicated in its design, so I was fearful that it would distract me of the story and would be fully concentrated on the technical aspects of it. But it was breath taking to see how the story and the theatrical techniques used complimented each other.  Just watching these actors throw themselves around to create such beautiful images to aid the narrative was something I had never seen before in theatre such as this play. And as a previous performer and studier of dance and the performance arts, it made me want to pursue my arts career again.

Granted I didn’t pursue it further but it encouraged me to start thinking about the way theatre works and how theatre can tell stories in numerous ways. And just because a play is reliant on a full set and technical skills, does not mean that is it going to be a tacky performance.

We learn in the play that Christopher was born with autism, having read the book I knew of this fact already. As my knowledge of autism is somewhat inadequate, I was intrigued to know how they would portray this on the stage. The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night Time made me more aware of how autistic people see the world and how scary it can be for them. I applauded the cast and crew for portraying such a tough issue in real life so delicately on the stage.

It just shows that for a theatre piece to inspire you and to make you think in a different way can be a powerful tool. You walk into the venue with certain morals and values and then after the show- the play changes your views on an issue. Perhaps it is because seeing real life events on stage is refreshing and has that personal connecting with you as an audience member. 

What shows do you find inspiring? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @KettleMag!