Set in a back room of the Shoreditch Town Hall, in a sparsely lit space consistently used for new theatre, I became part of a small audience viewing Summit, a new play presented by Fuel, written by Andy Smith.
Using a blend of languages, including fully integrated British Sign Language, three performers told a thought-provoking and evocative story from three perspectives. It was the story of an international meeting, a call to action, a response to a global crisis, and at that meeting, that global Summit, something happened and everything changed.
The subject matter itself got me thinking about the change we need to create, and with synchronistic timing, this short but powerful play triggered my brain to further explore the ideas I have been ruminating on, about how to achieve and inspire that change through what I can do as one person.
“We need to use our imagination. We need to imagine that change might be possible. That change is possible, however hard or impossible it might seem” – Andy Smith, renowned theatre-maker and writer of Summit
As one person, any of us have the capability of effecting change. Much like Andy Smith, who has used his creative approach to inspire hope and invite action, we can all do something. His writing was poetic, had rhythm, repetition and made full use of the three languages we were presented with. It was a beautiful juxtaposition to witness, as we were given the freedom to just absorb the poetic nature of BSL sandwiched between two equally beautiful verbal languages. I took it as an invitation to examine the different use of language, and how we can communicate the same message in different ways. We can so easily have the same intention yet little control over how that comes across.
Isn’t that just it? This unanimous repetitive message that we need to do something, that we need to make a difference, that something has to change is so often spoken in so many ways from so many perspectives that it gets lost in translation. Yet that’s what we all want.
There is no us and them. There is no hero, no villain. We all want a better world, and that’s what should unite us, despite our different languages, cultures and backgrounds. Those of us who have the drive to effect change, to do something, to improve the state of things do recognise our similarities more than our differences. Our differences are irrelevant, they should be obsolete.
In this time of such extremes, it is the global need to change that should, and hopefully will, bring us together.