Tim Etchells on performance

Posted on September 4, 2009 by

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forcedent 12AM
(12AM Awake and Looking Down – Forced Entertainment)

Tim Etchells’ text commissioned for Programme Notes: 2007 LADA and Arts Council England, Editors Daniel Brine & Lois Keidan p 22.

After naturalism, after Brecht, after the absurd, after the Kitchen Sink and musicals, after collaborative this and experimental that, after the multi-disciplinary high-and-low budget, high-and-low-brow extravaganzas, after empty spaces and physical theatres and all that very visual theatre and all that theatre that is also installation and all the performance theatre and the dance drama and the dance theatre and the loud music and the strange slow images and the even-stranger jump-cut images, the re-definition of mime to include talking and the reinvention of dance to more-or-less exclude dancing as such, after all of it, after the fragmentation and the swearing, after the violence and the microphones and the yelling and after the reading and the formal shock horror, after the content scandale and the buggery, the no-star reviews and the cacophony of tipping seats, after all that ‘is-it-really-acting’ and ‘is-it-really-theatre’ and ‘is-it-really-art’ etc etc etc perhaps we can say now, finally, that theatre can be what we want and need it to be in order to meet audiences and look them straight in the eyes with a question and an attempt to talk about what its like to live in this world now. After all that perhaps we can just say that the door is open. That the space is one of possibility – that anything can happen in the next one hour and 45 minutes, that no one needs permission from a parent or guardian or the approval of a responsible adult, the Mayor, the Lord Chamberlain or the Ghosts of Shakespeare, Osbourne or any living dead critics from any national newspapers, I mention no names. The door is open. Anything is possible. All of the above, and anything more (or less) or anything totally different that anyone feels inspired, inclined to compelled to bring to the table, to the stage. That’s all anyone ever wanted after all; that the door be open and left that way so that more people can get their foot through it, artists and audiences.

(with thanks to Katerina Kokkinos-Kennedy)

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Posted in: Resource