Desperate Optimists, Hope

Review in Issue 6-3 | Autumn 1994

Created and performed by Desperate Optimists, Joe Lawlor and Chris Molloy, in collaboration with performer Laurence Lane and composer and midiviolinist, Kaffe Matthews, Hope inhabited a peculiarly familiar world of interiors and exteriors – our domestic territory, the house and the garden, but also of our own identities. The performance was a complex weave of snippets of memory and details from the performers’ histories and concepts of identity dislocated by dreams and the technology on stage.

Hope played with reality by using fragments of news (the Waco siege in Texas) combined with pre-recorded text and Super-8 footage. The four performers all added distinctive tones and textures to the piece rather like components of a musical score. For instance, Kaffe Matthews held an uneasy presence with her midi-violin compositions which created a shifting voice in the piece, at once lyrical and discordant, while Chris added a haunting sensuality, dancing the samba between moments of spoken text delivered in her soft Irish dialect. Hope was an intensely challenging performance event both mentally and visually which recognised the small-scale everyday as well as the underbelly of society and its problems. Desperate Optimists are confident and brave in their material and should continue to stand out as a result.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 1994

This article in the magazine

Issue 6-3
p. 23