A pop-up theatre show performed in a caravan has pitched up in Dundee.
Mobile is a production exploring the issues of class, home, belonging, social mobility and the emotional effects of “moving up” in the world.
Performed in front of a tiny audience within an intimate setting, the 40-minute show features interactive elements, video projections and original music, as well as recorded interviews with people across the UK.
The show is based on research on social mobility by Dr Sam Friedman, a London School of Economics sociologist.
Dr Friedman conducted the study by questioning 52 people who had experienced significant upward social mobility.
He said: “The results were striking.
“While these people were clearly proud of their achievements – they were the first in their family to go to university and now enjoyed economic security – success had come at a considerable emotional price.
“Most had experienced mobility as a distinctly bumpy ride – a lonely, uneasy journey that left them at once dislocated from their working-class roots and at the same time not entirely comfortable in their new, middle-class, cultural habitat.
“It struck me that these stories, which seemed to paint a different picture of mobility to the one presented by politicians, needed to be shared beyond academia.”
Dr Friedman approached Paper Birds, a theatre company with a political approach, and Mobile was born.
The show is now on the road, being performed at schools, high streets and festival theatres around the UK, including outside the Rep Theatre in Dundee.
Actress Georgie Coles, one of the main performers in the production, said: “All of the characters in the show are real people and we get to hear the testimony of what has happened to them in their lives.
“By setting the research within a creative context, we were able to bring emotion to it.”
Mobile will be in Dundee until Wednesday, and is performed at intervals between 12pm and 8.15pm.
For the full timetable and to book tickets, visit http://www.dundeerep.co.uk/event/mobile
Mobile – a review
I’ve been to many unusual and quirky theatre productions but never one in a caravan, so I was naturally intrigued.
I expected it to be a bit of a Marmite experience – I would either hate it or love it – and luckily it turned out to be the latter.
The setting was very informal, with chairs arranged in a circle outside the caravan, where I took a seat with around five other people.
The performer, Georgie Coles, asked us to play a guessing game to see if we could work out each other’s names and professions before we introduced ourselves properly.
This was an effective ice-breaker as well as a way to draw our attention to our unconscious biases when meeting new people.
We then moved to the caravan, which was kitted out to look like your average UK home, complete with fade upholstered furniture, kitchen appliances and random knick-knacks.
The performance mixed theatrical elements with story-telling that was so convincing it felt like Georgie was recounting anecdotes from her own life.
When the lights dimmed we heard recordings of real-life stories beamed out of household appliances such as a microwave, lamp and radio, which lit up to the rhythm of the voice-over.
Other quirky touches, such as projections and miniature scenery inside the cupboards, added to the surreal mood.
The format of the show was accessible and easy to follow, while at the same time challenging the audience to think about what social class means in today’s world.