World in Pictures, The

The World in Pictures

Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 24 & Sat 25 Nov


What does pop cultural history take out of the stories of our past, and what’s left in? It’s an intriguing matter to contemplate, given the movies tell most folk more about history than historians these days. And the Braveheart version of history can play as fast and loose as it chooses.

Given that this is what movies do with history, it’s no surprise to find that the past is often retold as a thinly disguised version of current ideological preoccupations. So it is that everyone from William Wallace to Alexander the Great have been transmogrified into the contemporary neo conservatives that they precisely weren’t. This, though, happens when ruling elites re-tell history. But what of people lower down the economic scale? We can see an example of this alternative history, complete with pop cultural references, in the shape of this new piece by those frantic English theatrical buccaneers, Forced Entertainment. The Sheffield company, long noted for experimental work full of physical and visual trickery, as well as plenty of audience interaction, is presenting a kind of mock-heroic history of the world, starting with a travesty of the old Hammer movie One Million Years BC and moving on to the present day. Expect touching and tender moments, boisterous humour, and a little more to chew on about history than you’d expect.

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