Ghosts of the Near Future – Summerhall

Created by Emma Clark & PJ Stanley

Rating: 3 out of 5.

With showgirls, preachers, nuclear physicists, and of course giant Rabbits, Ghost of The Near Future is an existential crisis and a half, an exuberantly experimental piece of theatre from emerging performance duo Emma & PJ. This cacophony of engaging storytelling, humour, and cinematic sorcery manifests a surprisingly heart-warming story at the end of all things. A tale of the part-truths we conjure to appease one another when there’s little else to say, how on earth would you talk about the end of the world?

There will be no handholds or shortcuts and no defining features of linear narratives in this microscale of storytelling. Yet there’s a marvel beauty to it all – even with the discussions of grief and near-extinction. There’s a bemusing attempt to sort and file our feelings on the topic of Armageddon, and as we sit at one minute to midnight, Emma & PJ’s Ghosts of The Near Future inhabits our attitudes to the subject and both lampoons and offers a sense of comfort for those feelings.

Despite the subject matter of abject crisis, mass extinction and the inevitability of the Reaper, Ghosts of the Near Future is, remarkably, quite peaceful in composite. Offering a rather genuine and sincere aura of comfort under the softer lighting from Alex Fernandes. Even the more intense imagery and cinematography infuse a rich sound design, even when demonstrating the isolation and remoteness the conceptual future can pose.

A veritable cauldron cocktail of dystopian truths, the structure of the show enables the pair to play with scale and size, utilising an overhead projection Emma and PJ use small figures, swirling liquids and flowing sands to create the vastness of the Nevada desert and the conceptual imagery they wish to communicate quite effectively.

There’s a perverse beauty in the utter devastation, as Rocket Man plays over projections of nuclear annihilation. And in a biblical call-back, lines are drawn with humble salt, only for the crystalline white to become luminous under the production’s lighting. And while it may not be the most coherent, and far from the most traditional, we challenge anyone to sit in Summerhall after witnessing all the cinematic creativity and not appreciate Ghosts of the Near Future as something thrilling and fascinating.

Cacophony of Storytelling

Additional information for Ghosts of the Near Future may be obtained on their website here.

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