‘Searching for John’, by Compagnie La Frontera

Review from: CIRCa Festival, Auch; October 2022

This review was written as part of a module on the BA Circus degree at SKH. You can read more student reviews from CIRCa here.

This show review is intended for a both non circus- and circus audience deciding whether the show is worth buying tickets for. The intention of this review is presenting my thoughts and reflections on how the show Searching for John reflects modern society and its challenges.

The show revolves around the character John, who is the typical cowboy with a strong american accent who lives in his little hut. The stage is the hut and a few meters beyond. The audience sits around three of the four sides and is able to spectate through the imaginary walls. John is in my opinion representing the doubts our minds nowadays have of being different and the fear of being alone. The whole experience has a comforting feeling because of the love and care he shows his objects and the skill of audience interactions. At some points throughout the performance you might even find it comical instead of having an uncanny feeling. Except for one part in which both my friend and I (both female youth) felt uncomfortable due to an implicit act of harassment. If an implicit of harassment could influence your mental health, I do not recommend this show for you.

Searching for John gives you a glimpse of the different techniques of highlighting an object and giving it a personality. Usually it is hard to personify an object. Nowadays it is usually the opposite. Stefan Kinsman, who is the author and performer of this piece, is a master in making the audience feel like it is an ensemble show even though there is only one human on stage at all times. By mechanically and physically making the different objects move, by talking to them and giving them names, Kinsman is creating a resemblance to how society sees people with different psychiatric diagnoses.

This show is especially interesting for younger people because of the materialistic society we grow up in. It contains an overload of information and the mental health problems are increasing every day. In my opinion this show is giving a bit of realness and a way of presenting the “not so perfect part of society” which is often shoved under the carpet and/or not talked about enough. It is not only presented but also given a positive viewpoint on the darkest of times in life. Overall this show will surprise and intrigue you. You might become friends with lamps and chairs but who said that that is a bad thing?

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