Karl’s Imposter, Madness and its Civilisation

Review in Issue 18-3 | Autumn 2006

As the world becomes madder, it seems we must appear less mad. How mad. Approaching CPT, I see a woman hopping about in the window poster cabinet – I wave at her and she is ecstatic. Madness and its Civilization: The madness begins. Girls running around in pyjamas get us into groups of five and ask us to invent a name for our group, preferably derived from mental health terminology. Whilst some groups are taken into the studio, others wait in the foyer. Different clusters of action are scattered around the studio, presenting weak and clichéd outbursts of madness. Though these sequences lack intensity, the performance is irrationally intense. Back waiting in the foyer, performers have been planted to ‘up the ante’. So, in between staring at the clock and the flickering TV set, and making stilted conversation with each other, we are subjected to eccentric and erratic behaviour by these performers. An odd tension surfaces. We are in a theatrical situation and are looking at each other more than ever. Who is performing and who isn’t? is one question; another is: If they aren’t performing, why does everyone seem so suddenly and inexplicably – mad? How we look at and talk to each other in this situation is the strength of this performance. But I feel cheated: what is inside isn’t worth waiting for and waiting is, quite literally, driving me insane. A negative reaction this might be, but it is both a strong and valid one. A bonkers audience member/performer played a spades/buckets version of noughts and crosses with me. That was fun. He then wrote me a note saying ‘Horrible Hair’. Their group were called the ‘Compulsive Liars’. This part of the evening, at least, gave me genuine joy…

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 2006

This article in the magazine

Issue 18-3
p. 28