The Humanity Carpet

By Piero Bortol, directed by Helen Flooks
Tuesday 6th April at the Unity Theatre

Reviewed by Darren Guy

It was billed as a live performance that included literature-poetry, music, drama, commedia dell’arte, interpretation and dance from a range of cultures. Despite this I was very disappointed with what I thought would be a multimedia anti globalisation extravaganza.

The humanity carpet is a huge carpet of food sacks from around the world sewn together to make a carpet. The live music was excellent, with double bass, sax, and accordions and singing in both Spanish and English. Unfortunately, the performance and projection gave me the impression it was either improvisation or a work in progress. And considering the show was first performed during the 2002 biennial, you could not be blamed for expecting a completed performance. There was nothing wrong with the show itself: the dialogue, though Italian and Spanish, was simple enough to follow, there just wasn’t much of it. The images projected on a screen although using a sort of ad-busters technique only conveyed a very basic message - the USA lie when they claim to be doing things for our benefit. Mmmm… big deal!

There were other projections, particularly during performance interludes of people in third world countries – but these, to me, looked like they had been gathered from a one day internet search of a Christian Aid website and seemed lazily thrown together. Then suddenly – in what appeared to be an attempt to cover-up the lack of content and lazy performance - everyone was asked up on the dance floor and that was the end of the show.

Excellent music aside, the show never really got started. Although it may have worked as a live performance on the streets of Liverpool two years ago, or in front of a group of children, it certainly didn’t work in the Unity, in front of an adult audience, who had paid after being enticed in by the excellent flyer.