After seeing another news headline of ‘A young black boy stabbed in London', or just a reminder that the world is maybe a not-so-nice place to live in, my lovely grandma would always say ‘what a funny world’. This sort of phrase cannot be taken literally, as there really is nothing funny about this world. It is us who intentionally make the jokes, find the hidden good in the blinding bad. After watching Seen, it was another reminder that the world can be the most uninviting place we are all forced to live in. I noticed, throughout, there were scenes or mannerisms to chuckle or smile at, but I didn’t. I just watched closer. The scene with politicians especially, with the clapping. And the clapping. And the clapping. It was like, oh yeah sure, they really can’t hear the girl screaming behind them about the nation’s endless list of problems which they swore to solve. They just clapped louder. It wasn’t funny. It is to my understanding that it may have had some humorous intentions, but it made me feel uncomfortable. Brecht or Epic Theatre as you may know it can have that effect on you. In this scene, the discomfort drew me closer to the meaning of what they were saying, with the sound of their palms striking against one another.
Unfortunately, I could relate to parts of the play that no one should ever have to experience. The monologues and the interview at the beginning still felt tense to watch through a laptop screen. The breathing and the cyclical structure, introduced to us in the beginning and repeated throughout as a motif, signified in the stop and search scene when Moses Oridoye lay on the ground; a moment we have become too familiar with. Too comfortable with. It reminded me to stop and breathe in this funny world. After hearing from the talented cast in the post-show Q&A, it upset me that the stories were personal to them, though it did not surprise me. It should have occurred to me as they were using their real names. I could not help but slowly nod in agreement when Aman Basha said that he would not change anything if they had the chance. “It’s out there.”
I cannot imagine the atmosphere, had I ‘seen’ this live (see what I did there?). All the actors had their purpose on stage. What I appreciate about online theatre is that I can pause, rewind and zoom in on certain moments and facial expressions to work out what was going through their head. With Seen, I did not need to because the movements helped to convey and guide me through the plot. Young people have been speaking up about inequalities and bringing awareness to important issues that even I could not inform you about. Out of fear, desperation, and hope that one day we can live in that society where people will no longer have to relate to experiences no one should ever have to endure. Children should not be seen but heard. Seen spoke for all of us.