Forced Entertainment, Showtime

Review in Issue 8-4 | Winter 1996

Showtime draws the audience with a technique so skilled that the senses are seduced. Experts at giving us what we need whilst denying what we want, Forced Entertainment demand and receive empathy in response to transparent fakery. In this show they exploited tired contradictions between distance and engagement to a point wherein one felt quite literally lost and found in equal measures. As the performers stepped in and out of ‘moments of emoting’, the audience were carried with them. These were not so much examples of temporary representation as presentations of the performative selves, where truths were woven seamlessly into the fiction of the text. Whilst representative performance thrives on an illusion of depth, Showtime offers a world where depth is disguised as trivia. Cardboard trees, spaghetti guts and pantomime dogs provide visual banalities through which issues of performativity are articulated via blends of demonstration and description which are as unique as they are recognisable. Showtime gives us self-destructing figures whose only wish is to have loved a little better, to have seen and done a little more. If it’s a bleak worldview, like reading one’s own dark autobiography, the tone is tempered by a humour and beauty which is forceful and fragile in turn. There are certain works one shouldn’t miss, and Showtime is one of them.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 1996

This article in the magazine

TT 8-4
Issue 8-4
p. 23