Written by Sarah Wood, Directed by Adrian Jackson
The Cardboard Citizens
Everyman Theatre, Hope Street
4th - 8th April 2006
Visible is a bizarre and thought provoking production by the Cardboard
Citizens, which contains elements drawn from various mind-numbing and
tacky television game shows, together with snatches of absurd comedy resembling
legendary British humour from television and theatre - including Monty
Python, Fawlty Towers and Brian Rix Whitehall farces.
But behind the offbeat comic mask the play - written by Susan Woods,
and imaginatively directed by Adrian Jackson - questions selfishness,
avarice and materialism - in essence the shallow aspirations of many who
inhabit the western world.
Performed by a cast including ex-homeless and other actors - presumably
those who have not had to sleep rough on the streets - the play opens
in a mundane fashion, with a middle class couple - husband Rob (Rory MacGregor)
and wife Hattie (Karen Paullada) - squabbling about preparing their Sunday
roast lunch in the kitchen of their mock Georgian house.
The scene also has the added ingredient of a search for their next door
neighbour's cat Rasputin, who Rob has accidentally killed.
His denial of the death of the cat - powerfully symbolising the denial
of those who hold the reins of political power throughout the world and
who take no responsibility for the needlessly premature demise of millions
of people in wars and man-made disasters - is a constant motif during
But Visible then unfolds into a surreal style, with some of the actors
dressing up as creatures like a giant penguin, teddy bear and rabbit,
who interact with the audience, selecting several of them to take the
stage and take part, reading some of the lines.
Among other issues, the play asks questions about the addiction to television
in people's lives. The average time spent by British people in front of
the rectangular box is 27 hours per week, with that figure going higher
as people get older. The manipulation of people, their gullibility, and
their apathy in failing to question the society they live in is also considered,
along with a loss of self identity.
Using knives and forks, Rob, Hattie and friends finally feast upon a
dead body, which had landed from above onto their kitchen table. This
is accompanied by video shots of children starving interspersed with images
of children gorging themselves on junk food.
The subject matters raised in Visible are difficult to digest for a
lot of people. But that is where the problem lies. ‘It's not my
problem, I have my own life to lead’.