How often do we really listen to the sounds humans make? Not words. Sounds. Groans, moans, sighs, gasps, screams, howls, screeches, murmurs. All the miniature, half-acknowledged ways in which we communicate without stretching our lips around language. All the daily slips of our vocal chords, bodies betraying what our minds try to conceal.
Igor and Moreno make us listen. For at least half of A Room for All Our Tomorrows, the auditorium is flooded with their wordless cries. They burst into the performance space whirling and screaming, voices shredding the air. And they keep going. And going. The shouts are relentless, subjecting us to the kind of sound we never really hear over any sustained period of time – and certainly not in the theatre. It’s astonishing and beautiful and unbearable all at once.
But the cries are far from uniform. One moment they suggest agony or despair, the next surprise or the sharp shock of pain. Igor and Moreno’s impressive repertoire of noises spans grief, excitement, heartbreak, longing, relief … Together and then apart, their yells tussle and enter into dialogue and briefly harmonise. They say everything while saying nothing.
All through the screaming, Igor and Moreno put their bodies through the exaggerated motions of everyday actions: turning, reaching, stumbling, and – most strikingly – drinking scalding cups of espresso, fresh from the coffee-maker plonked centre-stage atop a wide wooden table. It’s as though this daily ritual has been stretched out of shape, suggesting both the strain and the absurdity of these things we construct as the flimsy scaffolding of our lives. Eventually, as coffee spills across the pristine white floor, the construction collapses; something new emerges.
There’s something about effort in Igor and Moreno’s work. In Idiot-Syncrasy, the two men basically just jump up and down for an hour, calf muscles straining and sweat blooming in patterns on their T-shirts. A Room for All Our Tomorrows puts the same strain on their voices, as they heave up these unrelenting, guttural cries. The movement, too, riffs on struggle and repetition, the same motions enacted again and again. The exertion is palpable, there in the perspiration beading on Igor and Moreno’s faces and in the occasional audible gulps of air between screams. This is fucking hard work.
So why do it? For me, the effort hints at the attempt, however small or seemingly silly, to change something. Igor and Moreno vaguely but appealingly describe A Room for All Our Tomorrows as “a performance and a place to imagine how things might be other than the way they are”. The show is as abstract and open to interpretation as the statement; it’s performance you feel through, not think through. But there’s something in those repeated cries, those repeated gestures of trying, reaching, falling. The same thing again and again and again, until suddenly, somehow, it’s transformed into something different. Things might be other than the way they are.