Forced Entertainment, Club of No Regrets

Review in Issue 6-1 | Spring 1994

Club of No Regrets is Forced Entertainment’s tenth show. A culmination not only of a unique and restless aesthetic but also of faith in theatre, a faith which allows the individual space to wander in their imaginations, to piece together their own stories through the fragments of narratives, and finally a faith which allows the individual the pleasure to understand their own ability to breathe and to change.

A lone character wanders lost in a wood. She gives herself a name, Helen X, and creates her own stories to get her through her long, lost, lonely night. ‘Is that voices I hear coming from that building over there?’ She asks, only to carry on manipulating herself further from the real, going deeper and deeper into the maze.

Two performers, mouths and bodies bound with tape, are forced, sometimes at gunpoint, to ‘act out’ a series of short scenes. The scenarios are beautifully clichéd, immediately recognisable, and deeply rooted in our consciousness; from the media, from crass films, from TV, from our own lives. ‘Look how I’m crying’ begins one scene, followed by, ‘I’m dying, I’m dying, hold me’, and then there’s a ‘drug trip’ scene, and a ‘just as they’re about to kiss the telephone rings’ scene. To begin with, the mumbled and inaudible scenes serve to ridicule the action and the performers. We laugh at the naivety and the different costumes and props forced in front of them. But soon the performers take hold of the conventions setup, as their real exhaustion and commitment moves the work to another, almost magical level.

The energy of the performance, the compelling sound track and the convergence of cheap theatrical props, release the clichés from their original naivety and enable them to escalate and clash together until they create a new sense of their own, or until we find within them our own sense, or the sense we want to find. The words, once awkward and laughable, become poetic and beautiful in all their stupidness.

Two performers stand drenched in water (rain, sweat, tears). They are covered in talcum powder (snow or smoke) and rotting leaves. They hold onto each other, almost motionless amongst the debris of the past chaos. We watch them breathing, silently up and down, and sense within their intimacy, a grain of hope, and a human plea. Moments later, they are bound again and forced to free themselves, alone once more.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Dec 1993

This article in the magazine

Issue 6-1
p. 19