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Review: Power Games – Who’s in control?, Altered Skin, Ipswich, May 10, 2013

Review of Altered Skin’s Power Games

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Review: Power Games – Who’s in control?, Altered Skin, Ipswich, May 10, 2013

Shane Shambhu presents an interactive live game show performance tracing and dictating the life of Deepak a wealthy city banker, whose story is altered by the decisions of the current audience addressing the idea of who or what has ultimate control in our lives. The ensemble of performers draw together acting, physical theatre, mime, and a fascinating energetic combination of contemporary and South Asian dance. Shane Shambhu born in London, trained in Bharatanatyam from a young age has worked with a global variety of artists and Dance Company’s including Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company.

Shane’s interest in politics, economics and their impact on individuals has brought about the inception of Power Games. Whilst he asks the audience to dictate the fate of his character at each performance through a simple A or B decision, the deeper reflective question Shane asks is; are any of us really in control? Whether he means spiritually, subconsciously through political propaganda or simply through chance influences on one another on a global scale, as (on my night) we (literally) bump into each other. As an audience member I can’t help thinking that I am being fooled and only being given the impression that I am contributing to this decision, is it fixed or are there really eight other possible scenarios for Deepak’s life.

Shane combines simplistic yet elaborate set design consisting of four separate projections on various screens which create streets, bars and the stock exchange floor, all contributing to the detail of Deepak’s life. Screens which flash ‘POWER GAMES’ stripping away the reality of his control in frozen moments throughout the piece, reminding the audience that his fate is purely at their whim.

Shane’s incredible flexibility and smooth integration of Bharatanatyam hand gestures, detailed foot work and energetic stylised full bodied movement creates an individual language which Shane has developed through Altered Skin’s latest works. The tradition of storytelling through movement works seamlessly in Power Games portraying emotions, relationships and adding depth to the story that is unravelling. 

Power Games presents the impact of power systems in the lives of individuals, a potentially different story at each performance, vividly told through clever creative movement and the beauty of Bharatanatyam.



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