Review: The Sensemaker
Produced by ‘Woman’s Move’ from Switzerland and co-directed by choreographers Elsa Couvreur and Iona D’Annunzio. The Sensemaker starts as a clever and understated comedy that uses dance, movement and sound as its main devices. Theatre like this is at its best when minimal and perfectly timed, which is a key strength of The Sensemaker.
The Fringe programme describes the piece as a ‘dystopian battle between a woman and an answering machine.’
We have all had our patience tested when on hold, or jumping hoops of a bureaucratic system. The waiting, the repetitive instructions and music, the back and forwards between different departments, the nonsensical automation, the feeling of not getting anywhere and just as you are about to give up, a small moment of progress.
This show beautifully finds the light-hearted comedy of this experience we all know and takes it to a surrealist realm. The protagonist is committed to having their request acknowledged by the mystery service. They remain resilient against every hurdle and we the audience become invested in this with them experiencing all the joy of their success and despair when they are challenged.
The piece reminded me of all the times we have to exercise persistence in our lives and perhaps go beyond what may be necessary to prove ourselves. The metaphor of the show brings out the anguish of job interviews, auditions, navigating health systems and legislative processes and brings to light the vulnerability we are exposed to when our needs place power in something outside ourselves. This show makes us ask the question ‘when is it enough?’ ‘when is it too much?’ and how easy it is to go beyond what we are comfortable with once we feel we have already invested so much of ourselves in an outcome.
Myself and my friends were moved from laughter to tears as the show masterfully invited us to be a part of the journey and at times gave us the unease of feeling complicit in the protagonist’s hurt.
It is innovative theatre like this that reminds me why I go to see independent artists, so that we might see another way to experience the world. I think being on hold will never be the same again.