Categories EntertainmentPosted on

‘Secret Life of Humans’ at New Diorama – SEEN reviews

You always know when you’ve seen some excellent theatre – you keep thinking about it on the way home and the next day, and the day after that…

SEEN certainly feels that way about ‘Secret Life of Humans’ currently on at the New Diorama Theatre. I am old enough to have seen the play’s subject Dr Jacob Bronowski on the TV when I was a teenager. I also read his famous book, ‘The Ascent of Man’, at roughly the same time so the play certainly resonated with me – I felt ready to revisit the subject.

The play was devised by the cast, using the known facts about Bronowski and speculating about the more elusive parts of his life. Why did he have a secret alarmed room in his house? The play postulates that his part in creating the firebombs that decimated Dresden and his subsequent guilt may have led to this. The room helped him to compartmentalise his life. What SEEN liked most about it was that it presented Dr Bronowski – ‘call me Bruno – everybody does’ – as a human being in the round. It movingly depicts his fascination with the earliest known human footsteps and his ideas of how beliefs form when we can articulate that which we observe.

There are two stunning pieces of stage action that encapsulate the earliest and the last humans but you won’t find any spoilers here from SEEN. You really have to see it for yourselves. The talented cast negotiated the stage and their roles with choreographed ease, manipulating the bookcases, scenery and themselves smoothly and with grace, reverence even.

It almost felt like meta-theatre as their command and use of language was exactly what Bruno was talking about. Things in the universe come into being as we embody them in language. Use of TV images of Michael Parkinson, and Bertrand Russell counterpointed and underlined the great regard in which Bruno was held in the seventies, a period in which, perhaps, he was able to put his conflicted feelings about the war aside for good, even redeem himself perhaps.

We are not so very different from our earliest ancestors, and the last humans will not be so very different from us. We all ponder the universe and our place in it. What is our purpose? Certainly we are doomed to extinction unless we learn the values of empathy and community. The play seems all the more timely since the bombing of Syria. Can we force countries into democracy and co-operation? Maybe it will take the near-extinction of humans for us to finally learn the answer to that question.

New Diorama Theatre
15 – 16 Triton Street

Seen this week

Categories Food&DrinkPosted on

Zoe Stirling at the Old Diorama Arts Centre

Zoe Stirling has almost a decade of experience in the heath and wellness industry, as both a Health Coach at leading London Gyms and as a Nutritional Therapist helping to develop a range of products and menus at restaurants. Her varied experiences led her to co-found Squirrel (one of SEEN’s favourite places), an all-day healthy …

Categories NewsPosted on

888 Collective to host first pop up at The Dusty Knuckle Bakery

SEEN had the pleasure last week of meeting the dynamic and resourceful Jana Dowling, CEO of the 888 Collective operating in London Fields. The collective is a social enterprise supporting people with mental health issues, specifically through workshops and initiatives that get people back on their feet and support them as they find employment and …

Categories NewsPosted on

Find Your Sense Of Space at Broadgate

It might be a bit chilly again after last week’s sudden heatwave but now’s a good time to check out what’s going on at Broadgate. Following the seemingly never-ending winter months and the coldest winter snap seen in the UK for 27 years, Broadgate launches Sense of Space for spring, a multisensory experience to help …

Categories Food&DrinkPosted on

Avenue Launches New Cocktails Inspired by the Myths and Legends of Latin America and Asia

Well, colour SEEN pagan for the new cocktail menu from St James’s Avenue. Half of the menu celebrates five mystical animals from Asian tradition, representing the cardinal points: the Black Turtle (North, the Vermilion Bird (South), the Blue Dragon (East), the White Tiger (West) and the Yellow Dragon (Centre). And central to these delicious concoctions …

Categories ArtPosted on

Three Cities: New Photographs from Niall O’Brien

SEEN is looking forward to seeing a new exhibition of photographs taken in the beating heart of America’s Silicon Valley, a place that by Niall O’Brien’s account was packed to the gills with cutting-edge technology yet had no aesthetic at all – except for the surrounding mountains and opportunistic nature. O’Brien spent four months living …