the coming storm

by uzwi

Forced Entertainment’s The Coming Storm was an extraordinary experience. I watched it on consecutive nights at Battersea Arts, & was so excited–not just by the performance but by the audience’s reaction–that I became incoherent every time I tried to say something about it. A month later I’m still too excited to write anything sensible, so here are some inarticulate notes I took at the time–

Instant control of the space. Characters evolve quickly from their entangled monologues–random, self-involved, confused. Nitpicking pub-style arguments spin up, develop, fade away without issue. Small narratives form & break as the performers undercut one other: their attempts to bulk out each anecdote with music, dance & explicatory material lead to chaos, brief hatreds, sudden violence. Above all, there are interventions: on the surface interruption is a structural device, deeper down it’s a way of life. The men try to outdo one another with avuncularity, baroque lies & unwanted advice; the women go quietly or noisily mad. A man puts on a Freddie Kruger mask & drags a piano about with a piece of rope. The piano whirls & rumbles lethally around the space. Later he tries to hang himself from a clothes rail. He has designed his own electric chair. He tells a story about his dying mother; a woman screams at him, “We agreed that we weren’t going to cheapen memories!” There’s a fight, & another woman urges the audience, “Don’t look at that! If you look at that you’re looking at the wrong thing.” What she wants, really, is that you should look at her. Klaus Kinski enlisted as a possible bus driver. Bits of broken language fall out of monologues & on to the stage: “Eating potatoes can make you aggressive.”

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