How should someone choose which charity to support? Do we, as former colonisers, have a duty to help improve the lives of the inhabitants of our former colonies? Are we selfish if we care that our neighbour’s dog has (once again) defecated on our doorstep more than all of the ills of the world? These are the questions raised and debated in Junges Ensemble Marabu’s There is a Globe Stuck in my Throat by its cast of young actors – to mixed success.
Framed entirely as a radio or television discussion panel for ‘Global Village’, any sense of immersion is immediately shattered as the panel’s theme song (sung by the actors) is cut short by the late arrival of a panelist. The cast frequently break the fourth wall, calling for a change of lighting to help them convey their arguments and asking the audience to provide solutions to problems, thereby creating a sense of openness in the performance.
Contradicting voices and opinions are rampant and arguments are frequent as, throughout all of this, a monitor flashes the word ‘now’, grounding the play and hammering home the immediate nature of solutions desired by the panellists. Despite the discussion panel format, there is a surprising amount of physicality in the actors’ performances, which offers a refreshing break from what would otherwise just be a great deal of shouting.
Moreover, the absurd nature of some of these movements serve to highlight the current state of the world, as well as create the majority of the comedy found within the performance; or the successful comedic aspects, at least. Unfortunately, many of the many jokes – including jabs at alternative facts – fail to connect. Thankfully, the moments of pathos are far more successful with the panellists, creating horrifying images of suffering felt by millions around the world through their words. Unfortunately, these interludes are almost immediately thrown away by further attempts at comedy.
Similarly, the cast boldly explores issues of mass starvation and poverty, along with anxieties plaguing young people in a world where they are bombarded by information and pleas for help on social media, which ultimately lead to a lessening of empathy. These are all pertinent issues and certainly worth raising, with the play serving as a showcase of the complexities of the modern world. However, due to the complex nature of the issues explored, there is no sense of definite conclusion to There is a Globe Stuck in my Throat. Instead, the performance is merely a call for greater societal change, eventually fizzling out.