And Now for Something Completely Different . . .
UCLA Live! for bringing us a range of British companies: Shakespeares Globe Theatre of London (whoseMeasure for Measure
closed last week) is a troupe of Royal Academy of Dramatic Artstrained thespians who do the Bard as he was done in 1580, near the banks of the Thames, when not on tour. Forced Entertainment, however, whoseBloody Mess
opens next week, consists of arts adventurers trained at scruffy Exeter University. They studiously avoided London for the northern, suburban climes of Sheffield a former steel-manufacturing city. None of them is from Sheffield. They chose it because it wasnt London, explains artistic director Tim Etchells. He also confesses that in the early years, the troupe created a scandal when they subsidized their art by manipulating Englands welfare system. Undistracted, a core of collaborators has been chiseling performance pieces for 20 years and is now traveling the globe with them. In rehearsals, which, on and off, last about five months, the actors discuss ideas and improvise. I think for the most part our work tends to go in cycles, in a process of reaction and response to the stuff weve done before, Etchells says. Wed done quite a few still, intimate minimal pieces [see accompanying article], and we were quite desperate to turn the music on and start making some noise, he adds, explaining the origins ofBloody Mess
, which features, among a cornucopia of lunatic images, a woman in a gorilla suit throwing popcorn. TheGuardian
has called Forced Entertainment Britains most brilliant experimental theatre company and describedBloody Mess
as The end of the world with pom poms and tinsel.
Forced Entertainment performs Bloody Mess at UCLA, Freud Playhouse, Thurs.Sun., December 14. Call (310) 825-2101 or visit www.uclalive.org.
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