What if you were The Endling, the last of the human species? Strange Futures’ new show, exploring possible futures for the world and all that inhabit it, launches this month in London ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), hosted by the UK in Glasgow in November.
The Endling previews at south London’s Chelsea Theatre on 12 August 2021 as part of the Chelsea & Kensington Fringe Festival, before its transferring to north London’s Lion & Unicorn Theatre on 20 and 21 August during Camden Fringe. A subsequent regional tour will launch in the autumn as part of #SeasonForChange, a UK-wide schedule of arts activities raising the profile of climate issues in the lead-up to COP26.
We live in a time of ‘endlings’ – the last individual of a species – caused by human actions. You may remember Lonesome George, the very last Pinta Island Tortoise. But do you remember Turgu, the last Polynesian Tree Snail? He died in a plastic box and his grave marker read “1.5 million years BC to January 1996”. Turgi was just one example of thousands of species that have become extinct in recent history.
In The Endling, Strange Futures ask some difficult questions, without blaming. How can we stop viewing ourselves as separate from the rest of the living world? As the wonderful and varied species on the earth diminish, are we not diminished too? Our experience, understanding, even our language may also disintegrate and fade away in a kind of planetary dementia.
In this quirky devised show, Strange Futures uses physical theatre and humour to explore the interconnectedness of human existence with the lives – and deaths – of other species. The show addresses pertinent issues of environment and species extinction, but in an indirect and entertaining way that aims to get an audience on side, not blame or shame.
The Endling is performed by Matt Simmonds and Will Moore, who also co-direct. It is co-written by fellow Strange Futures member and dramaturg Jane George.
The Endling (60 minutes) runs at Chelsea Theatre on 12 August 2021 at 7.30pm, and during Camden Fringe, at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre on 20 and 21 August at 8.30pm. Tickets are priced £12 (£10 concessions).
What audiences say
“You evoked absolutely beautiful images in our mind”
“Really enjoyed this – the choreography and dialogue were really tight”
“Delivered the message without being too ‘in your face’”
“Really interesting… well informed… love the concept”
“Relevant, informed, energetic”
“Powerful physical movement”
About Strange Futures
Since forming in 2018, Strange Futures has quickly earned a reputation for contemporary physical theatre that addresses pertinent issues in offbeat humorous ways. In 2019, their devised piece There’s Something Missing (with guest dramaturgy by Bert and Nasi) was acclaimed at the Edinburgh Fringe.
In 2020, the company was awarded an Arts Council project grant for a residency at The Malvern Cube, during which The Endling was developed through consultation with environmental advisors and presented live to four different audiences. After each performance, spoken and written feedback was collected the show was adjusted in response.
The production also benefitted from choreographical input from Julian Spooner, the internationally acclaimed Rhum & Clay theatremaker, who says:
“Strange Futures are an incredibly exciting emerging company. Their blend of virtuosic physical work and rigorous approach to text, as well as an absurd comic slant gives their work a unique feel and flavour. I’ve been really excited to be working with them, and can’t wait to see where their work takes them next.”
During the last year, the company has also created an original family show, The BrollyFolk, made with and for young communities. It uses poetic text, animation, clowning and physical humour to remind us of the value of caring for our world. Following The Endling‘s run at Camden Fringe, The BrollyFolk will premiere at Worcester Fringe Festival on 31 August 2020.
Photography by Colin George.