I crack my fingers over the keyboard, wondering. Wondering what I took away from my annual trip to IFA in Berlin. The annual tech conference is where I immerse myself in the tech world every year. I meet companies and find out what reviews I’ll be doing for you, in the coming months. But as I crack my fingers I feel the urge to do a very different review. One of theatre. A review of The Mirror, now showing at Chamäleon, Berlin.
What is The Mirror?
I’m your typical modern-day hipster type. Go to Berlin and “take in a show”. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself in for in picking The Mirror, but I like to be impulsive. People had asked me what my plans were so I needed a quick synopsis. “It’s kind of like a small-scale Cirque du Soleil by Aussies”.
It was a bit reductive, but the truth is I nailed it.
The Mirror is by Gravity & Other Myths, an Australian acrobatics and physical theatre company. The show combines spoken word interpretations of contemporary classic music, with vibrant beats and breathtaking acrobatics. I mean that last bit quite literally. Gasps were common amongst the crowd as there was a real sense of fear amongst us as we witnessed truly dangerous moves.
There’s another layer to the show. A smartphone wanders around the artists throughout the two hour long show. The phone’s camera is relayed onto a large LED wall for all to see.
Why the Mirror is Brilliant
“I live for your applause” is echoed repeatedly by Megan Drury towards the end of the show. She’s the singer on the stage, the voice of the act outside of the acrobatic grunts and signals. Over and over she repeats it until the audience gives way and gives applause. A few of us don’t as the true meaning of the show finally lands.
For me, The Mirror began as a celebration of humanity. The acrobatics were absolutely mesmerising. I was completely enthralled by the movement, the risk and pure art I was witnessing. The show starts with a radio on stage. A simpler media form that entertained for years. Then, the screen (or mirror) emerges onto the stage. As it does, it quite literally doesn’t take centre stage. It’s to the left and somewhat out of the way. But it grows in stature. Moving closer to the audience and being more centred.
As the intermission comes, the screen is dead centre. The artists are backstage stretching and preparing for the second act – all of it is on camera. We can see them all. They interact with us, showing us their favourite YouTube videos or games they’re playing.
The second half is more playful. It’s more simple. It’s focused much more on the phone camera and the screen. The Mirror is a commentary on how social media and mobile phone screens have taken a dominant position in our lives.
In the first half, I remember noting the highest arrangement of acrobats was three people high. Now, with The Mirror on stage, they go to four high. The eternal urge to do more on social media, to impress strangers and gain clout is happening before our very eyes.
“I live for your applause” was not a simple request. It was a cry for help from another person lost in a social media landscape of peer-to-peer torture. It felt genuinely uneasy to feel the ripple of applause meet the words amongst the audience.
The Mirror at Chamäleon Review: The Verdict
When I booked my seats, there was a reasonable number of seats free. I was a bit surprised given the reputation this club theatre has. But when I arrived, the venue was full. While I feel lucky to get a seat, there was still a few seats scattered around Chamäleon on a Saturday night. So what, you say?
Well, I’m shocked. In Germany’s capital city, this show should be sold out absolutely every night. I met some people at another event in the city who asked what I thought because they had heard so much about it. I urge you, if living in Berlin or visiting for a trip, to go see The Mirror. Take note of the message at the show’s core and enjoy the stunning acrobatics from Gravity & Other Myths.
You can book your tickets online for a variety of prices. Or, if you’re a student, you can arrive just before the show for a further discount should empty seats be available.