Sunday, March 23, 2014

#1000thLIVE, or The Ethics of the Invisible Hand

Last night I was privy to parts of Forced Entertainment’s 14-year old piece And on the Thousandth Night... via livestream from Lisbon, Portugal.

I want to say something that I feel was overlooked – it was not an exercise in storytelling, but in forgetting. Forget that there is anything but this stage, these people, princesses and so on. Forget that you have to think. Forget that there is anything but the theatre.

The work is a line of people wearing crowns and telling stories. Someone can interrupt at any point and say “Stop!” and then continue their own story. It hurts to point out that this monumental work is really just a theatre game. It’s played in rehearsal rooms everywhere - just not for 6 hours. The difference: every now and again an invisible hand intervened and curated specific moments and stories that were, as if by magic, allowed more air time than what was afforded others. These moments were inevitably shocking, sometimes violent, and interrupted the flow of English banter and piss-taking that characterised the rest of the dialogue. So one moment we were in an enchanted forest where no-one could move for about 20 minutes of re-starting, and then suddenly, we were a plane dropping a long, slow bomb.

The strength of the work relies almost entirely on getting these curated moments to drop in a way that was meaningful, and not forgotten by the time the browser is refreshed. At its worst, the effect is like reading media – you get the fluffy kittens and bunny rabbits, and then a flash of hyper-authentic catastrophe sometimes on the same page, sometimes the same header. At its best, it operated as a metaphor for such – for the violence of contemporary narration.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Theatre should not talk about Climate Change

My article about theatre and climate change has been published over at A Younger Theatre and can be viewed here.

Written in a haze of desperate rehearsal, it's not my best work, but I still think the point is worth making. Dialogue is only helpful if it is helpful. Silence - protest - must be an option.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Stating the obvious - I am on a break from criticism again.

I am producing this work. It has been trouble, but will be worth it I'm sure.

Meanwhile, Theatre Garmyder of Ukraine appears to be still on course to be shut down on March 16, despite the uncertain political future at the moment. I will announce this to the audience after the performance in London on Tuesday.

In the meantime I once again express solidarity for these artists, who are sadly being punished for fulfilling their social function.