So near yet so far. Live theatre disappeared then little by little started to tease us with a return this autumn, albeit with challenges and reduced audiences, and mask-wearing and…you don’t need me to tell you.
Well lockdown 2.0 came and it was a return to live-stream theatre and to be honest, with the right show, captivation, and strong-hold on you, this isn’t as remote a concept as you might imagine. It’s not the same as your nightly Netflix fix, especially when it’s a theatre you’ve oft-visited. You’re almost there. I mean you’re not, but you could reach in and touch the stage, feel ready to do the awkward half stand as people pass by to get to their seat, taste the red wine consumed in the bar beforehand.
I felt at HOME last night as I streamed from home The End, the first time that audiences have been able to see the show since it premiered at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
I will now heavily par-quote the press release as with all the synonym support in the world, I can’t sum it up better.
Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas dance the end of their relationship, imagining what a future without each other might look like. Above the stage and projected onto a screen, two parallel narratives run alongside each other: the end of the Earth and the end of their collaboration. In the vein of their previous work, it is a poignant, sad and funny account of the ongoing ecological crisis.
And it actually is.
I don’t sit and make notes during a performance, be it theatre, film, dance, art, talk, dinner even. I don’t want a chufty badge or to criticise those who do. Indeed the point is that I’m not a critic, but there to experience, enjoy, feel. In fact the only analysis that goes on is that of why I feel what I feel afterwards, for this here blog.
If a piece of art or indeed encounter or experience makes you feel anything, it’s a huge tick in the box. If it’s a feeling of enjoyment on some level, the tick is even bigger.
This show will make you feel.
We’re introduced stat by projected (in every way) stat to a sense that we’re a teeny, tiny part of history. Even though this year holds some significance in certainly the history of the 21st century, thousands of years, millions of years, trillions of years, everything we know (and haven’t yet come to know) will be gone. Including James Corden. But here we are.
Once you’ve been brought back to the now, Bert and Nasi dance their way through a further projection of their own future lives and indeed relationship as friends. As they skip, leap, roll, balance (you can almost hear your mum saying ‘you’ll fall and crack your head open’ during this bit), and canter (it really felt like a canter), I tell you, the rhythm is gonna get you.
Juxtaposed with a narrative on the screen behind of lives not yet lived, and with delicious detail of the seemingly ordinary observations that are the fabric of our encounters (we’re told Bert’s funeral is held in a place where the staff weren’t particularly friendly), it all makes sense in the moment. And is incredibly moving (and at times funny too).
With so much time on our hands (relatively) and a sense of that time being wasted at the moment, there is too much opportunity (and not enough distraction) for thinking of our lives in finite terms (alright Laura, calm down, it’s Friday). But this 45 minute show reminds us of both how fragile life is (sad), but also how we’re not quite at the centre of the universe too. And how that’s a good thing.
Also it was bloody good and you should live stream the experience either tonight, Friday 13 November, or tomorrow, Saturday 14 November – at 7.30pm.
Details of the pay-what-you-decide tickets, (including free), can be found at https://homemcr.org/production/the-end/
The show is commissioned by The Place and Warwick Arts Centre
A collaboration with Laura Dannequin
Further details of the artists:
- Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas are two performance makers that have been working together since 2015.
- Creating work in an age of austerity and about austerity their work is stripped right back and sits somewhere between live art and theatre, but if you held them against a wall they would probably say it’s theatre.
- Together they first created the trilogy EUROHOUSE, PALMYRA and ONE which explored power dynamics and political themes on a micro, human level, and complex political and social questions – Greece’s relationship with the EU; the Syrian crisis; the rise of the ultra right – in an accessible, immediate form. Using humour and the dynamics of their onstage relationship, Bert and Nasi undercut and explore the darker aspects of contemporary subjects in work that questions both their own – and the audience’s – role as ‘active’ spectators in global conflicts.