Engaging, provocative and seamlessly executed, The Sensemaker presents a satirical journey of our solo protagonist experiencing oh-so-dreaded phone call queues and built-in automated requests, which gradually push her to her limits of comfort and patience.
This unique production exemplifies the power of physical theatre in near complete absence of dialogue. Silently, the highly talented performer effortlessly expresses herself in response to the numerous audio cues, using only her body language, facial expressions and expertly executed (and quite comical) mime and dance sequences.
While the momentum appeared unhurried at first, this tactic cleverly immersed the audience into the narrative, evoking that feeling of impatience and frustration that we all know too well. Spending an hour in her shoes, we follow along with what at first appears to be your everyday phone waiting queue, but this soon transforms into automated instructions that well and truly crossed the line into absurdity and discomfort, just to progress the call.
While the audience remains in the dark about the purpose for this call and the identity of the robotic entity on the other line, we find ourselves on this same journey. Delighted at her humour along the way and becoming outraged at the hoops she needs to jump through, the audience is motivated to reflect themselves - How far would I allow myself to be pushed? How much am I willing to share? Is it really worth it?
At times I felt we were transported to a darker, almost dystopian future, where we as people are reduced to no more than a number, at the mercy of a system we have built for the sake of ‘efficiency’, and most jarringly, where privacy is an outdated concept. To me, this highly relatable story hit a bit close to home as a poignant reflection on how far we could progress into automation at the expense of real human connection. This discomfort was juxtaposed by the absurdity of the requests and how they were responded to which provided a continual thread of ever-building comedic relief.
If you are seeking something quite alternative, thought provoking and expertly produced, I would look no further than The Sensemaker. Noting though…a content warning may be needed for those triggered by never ending phone calls.