“I used to want to change the world”

Written by the German writer Falk Richter, Jude Christian directs a satirical production of the Trust at the Gate. The theatre is transported into a long corridor where we are taken through a labyrinth of imagery, music and poetry; an exhibit of Richter’s political thesis.

Richter suggests that capitalism and our personal relationships are both built upon the same principle of ‘trust’. When this foundation begins to crack, we are taken down a spiralling path of corruption and lies that are filled with twists and tales. Freedom creates greed for more, though this leads to greater dependency on others.

We follow a couple, played by Pia Laborde Noguez and Zephryn Taitte, through their 14-year relationship that seems to always be on the verge of collapse. It becomes a chaotic whirlwind of idiosyncratic episodes that effectively shift and tilt throughout the 100 minutes. Showers of Rice Krispies are thrown, Nutella is brought as a peace offering, disco balls spin and a therapy session to try and restore their relationship is televised on a chat show.

Laborde Noguez sits in a silk dressing gown at her table; she declares to us her liberties, the beauty of spending and that money is just numbers. As she paints her lips red, she kisses towards her husband saying she will be away for a while with a few men, but that when she returns he must be waiting for her. As the audience, we become increasingly unsettled by her deceit and covetousness. Laborde Noquez beautifully executes this scene.

Through a rhythmic dialogue Christian tells us that high rent and poor living standards have become the norm, pushing people to the outskirts of the city, while construction projects for social housing are exploiting their workers and compromising people’s safety in order to make a profit. As she reads a news bulletin about slate falling off rooftops onto the street and bricks not being placed properly, she hears the sound of running sprinklers. It comes from empty golf courses and the gardens of luxury homes. Nobody lives there, though the value of the land begins to increase and increase over time. A landscape that is merely cultivated in order to produce profit and investment.

As Christian holds a shot of tequila in her hand, she gives a toast to the mockery of our financial system. While Taitte places his face behind a black mask barking and howling a rap; it become a performative protest against the power of the banks and how the fabric of our society has becomes corrupted by privatisation.

A recording of a young girl’s voice begins to play. She drifts through a series of poetic passages about feeling empty. She tells us she cannot see what is ahead; everything is within a haze of misty smoke; she is alone, sinking into the damp, thick soil. It is not until we get to the end of the monologue that she enlightens us with who she blames for having left her in such a desolate place. She points the figure at the older generation who have made decisions about the future, even though soon they will be gone and everyone else will have to deal with this dark muddy uncertainty.

Yoga mats are rolled out to the sound of meditative, calm music. The actors all begin to do a sun salutation sequence. It is not long before a voice disrupts the music reminding us that our lives have become formulated for us. By merely following the navigation system we no longer have to think, understand and question. All we have to do now is follow the instructions in order to flourish within society. As the piece comes to a close we are reminded that that our lives are now dictated for us; we are watched and recorded.

Christian has brought an imaginative and eclectic testimony to Richter’s writing, though it seems we are given no opening or light of what can be done for the future. Surely the question we should be asking is how can we move forward?

Trust is playing at the Gate Theatre until 17 March 2018

Photo: Ikin Yum