Brith Gof, Arturius Rex Cardiff

Review in Issue 7-1 | Spring 1995

We were taken by bus from Chapter Arts Centre to a cold, barren industrial shed – where inside, a long, narrow performing space was filled with beds – waiting to be transformed by performers and audience.

Arturius Rex showed the scummy, demeaning, dirty deaths of a hero of the Celts, of every society, at the hands of another. Power given with ‘carte blanche’ to use it turned neighbours into torturers, rapists, killers. Became ethnic cleansing, the release of evil.

All this was shown through a physical theatre of tenderness, violence and ideas that embraced and distanced. The physical and emotional proximity made us voyeurs, victims, torturers.

Images:

- Chalk drawn outlines of bodies scrubbed out in physical and cultural genocide.
- A text of raw poetry, rhythm and repetition and thrash music.
- Hospital beds become torture frames, rape and death cage.
- Audience gets out of the way or is pushed aside.
- Water over floor, over us.
- A fractured singing of ‘Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau / Land of my Fathers’ makes patriotism ironic and broken.

This was a performance total in the commitment of performers and audience. It was raw and moving, making insipid most of what passes for physical theatre. A theatre of body, mind, emotion that made an image both simple and complex.

It was a very special experience.

Artforms
Presenting Artists
Date Seen
  1. Nov 1994

This article in the magazine

Issue 7-1
p. 21