A button I can’t unpress










(So I’m mainly writing this to me and about me and about filling the gaps between articulation, memory and bias.)

To sorta/kinda remember what on earth I thought about it and the noise around it, before it becomes a vague word-cloud memory and home to something with a slightly bitter taste.

In a way it’s a Secret Theatre thing, (its also an overview thing).

Up in Edinburgh, I went to see Secret Theatre’s ‘Show 5’. The lovely, lively and very human A Series Of Increasingly Impossible Acts. I had a great time, enjoyed the games and playfulness, the adrenalin impro that throws up giggles, slaps and knife cuts, and – with generosity and clarity – the love the company clearly has for each other.

Came out with a giggly grin and an uplift where my heart lives.

(and mildly irritated that the show, inevitably by its very nature, came out late and made me miss the opening bits of the next show on my stupidly packed EdFringe schedule. Such is the way with Edinburgh, however, that I managed to meet up with the folk from _that_ show who gave me a blow-by-blow account of what I missed. What a splendid magic that is.)

What I didn’t really expect, I suppose, was the world wide hyperbole and auto-gushing machine that is the current incarnation of the social Internet. Pronouncements that this splendid show was such a game changer. Folk falling in a daze at its brilliance of form, its blistering raw heart.

Now, I’m a reactionary bastard. This much enthusiasm is bound to rankle. (I spent four years refusing to watch the Mighty Boosh ’cause EVERYONE screamed ‘comedy genius’ into my ears until they bled). So this lovely show – which I keep saying in this bl0g post to pretty much prove that I DID LIKE IT – didn’t seem so revolutionary as much as evolutionary. It felt like the drama department broke into the contemporary arts building at midnight and played with all their stuff. That in google world we’re all happily inventing wheels without wondering what wheels were there before. That performance and theatre are still stupidly divided and basking in their blissful lack of awareness of each other.

(glibly, I’d oftentimes pronounce that what Live Art did yesterday, Performance did today and Theatre would do tomorrow).

Looking at form – asking questions or performing tasks to discover curious meaning, insight and pitch perfect moments. This form is so well established that even I’ve been in a show that did just that – and in the 25 years or so I’ve been minnowing round the theatre and performance pond i’ve only been on stage four times (although it wasn’t that often a stage, more a field or a warehouse and one memorable time an elevated porcelain bath tub, painted gold and screaming – I was the one painted gold, not the bath).

I guess the gush is unexpected. Or possibly totally expected. A bit dizzy. Nodding wisely with a wry grin.

I mean, it’s not just about particular ways of doing things. Performers like to talk into microphones whilst sat down. It’s a thing, right? Yet you’d not confuse Chris Brett Bailey, Forced Entertainment, Debbie Pearson or Kieran Hurley. Tool for the job. That kind of thing.

After the undirected wail of ‘really!’, after a bit of reflection and a couple of chats I have started to think that in fact it speaks a little bit to freedom. That folk now take so easily to their public voice. Confidently expressing deep joy, anger or the transformative awe of experience. It’s a raw debate, and we’re not yet very good at it. There’s no granularity, and gut feelings rank as high as the informed. But we’re all talking.

I wonder how long it’ll take before we’re all listening.