On the face of it, You Will See Everything might not seem like the most inclusive piece in the world. It’s angry, vicious, tender, brash and stunning. It rejects the cosiness of theatrical convention for something far more brutal and visual, which could alienate a typical theatre-goer, or be slightly jarring for someone who came to it cold, without allowances for people’s comfort. But the production have clearly taken care in shaping the piece so that everyone can be included in its tremulous emotions, and understand its deeply held themes of love and loss.
You Will See Everything begins with a two minute audio description which forms nearly ten percent of the final piece. This in itself is surprising, and possibly the most integrated artistic engagement with accessibility I’ve seen throughout the festival. The description is written so that it feels entirely in-keeping with the rest of the piece – the visual viscosity of the blood is transformed into an aural knowledge that we cannot escape the physicality of this piece. We also learn about the central character’s singularity and lack of ordinariness, something highlighted throughout the rest of the piece through her dwelling in a strange, womb-like set. And we are spoken to from the start. The audience is embraced and welcomed into an unnamed woman's confidence, and then rejected viciously within the piece itself, as the woman states that she "doesn’t care" about our opinion. What this introduction does, then, is to highlight the themes and style of the piece, while providing clear and engaging context for those with visual impairments. It’s a masterful use of the form.
We see this too with the short epilogue to the show. In-between these two elements is something of ferocity and trauma: after, the production team figuratively 'put the lights up' and show the set, unlit, and the central actress, who informs us of the support materials available. The respect shown to the audience here, as well as its seamless integration with the general tone of the piece, is refreshing, and makes a change from lifeless content warnings. This in itself becomes theatrical: a realisation that the audience needs a bit of decompression, to process the striking images, soundtrack and heartache of the preceding piece.
You Will See Everything is a visceral and affecting show: no one can deny that, or the work the production team have put into its excellent set, script and acting. Its real triumph however comes in the show’s attention to its audience, its commitment to art, and recognition that sometimes, when presented with something new and unsettling, we need a breather.