REVIEW: Beyond The Bright Black Edge of Nowhere – by Jessica Cheetham

Root ExperienceUncategorized

A mass disappearance in 1959 in Idaho inspired Circa 69 to create Beyond the Bright Black Edge of Nowhere – a multimedia mash up of monologues, music and B-movie cut-ups. A mysterious discovery of a black box in the desert and a letter from each of the young people are the only clues in this tragedy.

Beyond the Bright Black Edge of Nowhere presented a simple theatricality – eight monologues read almost dispassionately from folded letters, supported by projections and live music. The performance began on this level and never presented any spikes of drama or moments of silence, nothing to surprise the audience, creating a trance-like state where the mind wandered between the reality of the stage and the interior reality of our own lives and worries.

There was an interplay of past and present through the digital element of the performance – clips of movies from the 1950s represented the present of the disappeared through the audience’s past and nostalgia whilst young performers onstage read out the words of the missing – live people recounting thoughts from the past.

At the end the audience applauded and returned home, satisfied with the performance but with a curiosity – were the disappearances real? Some absence of truth in the performance led myself and my friend to conclude that they probably weren’t and in search of a conclusion we did the natural 21st century action and turned to Google.

In doing so, we discovered the multiple layers that Circa 69 have constructed for this digital/live storytelling. We unearthed a series of websites which (without betraying the content here) either backed up or undermined the face-value story of teenage disappearance.

Beyond The Bright Black Edge of Nowhere calls into question the information we receive, the power and authority that we take for granted, and our sources of reassurance in a digital age.


Jessica Cheetham is Artistic Producer at Root Experience and also writes for The Argus and Fringe Review. She is Artistic Director of Spun Glass Theatre and a freelance producer.