Rewind is as brilliant as it is heart-wrenching, a journey into the consciousness of a country devoid of justice and humanity, rediscovering the intimacy of those victims too soon forgotten.
Rewind is a physical theatre performance that blends a poignant pantomime with vibrant live music and re-enactments of scenes from forensic anthropology. The spectacle is directed by Brazilian Ramon Ayres and performed by Colombian theatre-maker Andres Velasquez, Icelandic Eyglo Belafonte, UK-based Alex Paton, Louise Willcox, and Josephine Tremelling.
The plot is based on the work of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, whose dedication to finding and identifying the remains of Argentinians who disappeared during the “Dirty War” (1976-1983) earned them a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2020. It’s not just a brilliant fusion but an exceptionally successful one: what appears to be forensic excavations in the show turns into an intimate investigation, a backward journey into the life and inevitable death of Alicia, a young girl who dared to resist the authoritarianism of her country and was sentenced to total annihilation. As the forensic team examines and measures Alicia’s bones, we witness a scientific examination of a past that was literally buried.
Rewind is a journey into memory, a memory that, as the Brazilian director Ramon Ayres says, is an act of resistance. In a play of lights and almost expressionist pantomime, reminiscent of early 20th-century German cinema but accompanied by music so vibrant that it resonates deep within, the performance stirs the souls, striking chords so profound that we didn’t know existed.
On a loop pedal, Alex Paton weaves visceral beats into the piece’s soundtrack: from playing a traditional banjo to creating echoey screeches, he captures the contradictory nature of life in many Latin American countries during political uncertainty. Rewind skillfully lets the dead speak—bringing their very bones to life and allowing them to express themselves or, in this case, show their own life: it’s Alicia’s skeleton that moves on the stage, illustrating a forgotten truth itself, a truth that survived solely thanks to a mother’s unwavering determination. Indeed, the audience exits in tears, deeply shaken yet moved by the work of these artists who decide to turn their artistic talents into a form of resistance and memory.
Something unprecedented, not just in narrative techniques but in dramatic power: Rewind is an almost indispensable work of essential humanity that leaves one weighed down yet profoundly touched and enriched. A performance that makes possible the intersection of art and protest, memory and scientific investigation, interwoven with a pathos that’s seldom reached.