As Far as We Are starts off well enough, runs out of steam in the middle and ends up as an embarrassing piece of utter nonsense.
The offering is described in the listings as “a seemingly serene, but ingenious/perfidious piece which is a virtuoso-playful and abysmal high performance.” If this looks like a randomly generated set of words, it probably is, but it was intriguing enough to draw a good-sized crowd.
The audience were invited to sit on a stage where the chairs were laid out in four squares, each enclosing the still form of a recumbent performer. A pounding, rhythmic and not unpleasant soundtrack slowly animated the lying figures as they twitched and convulsed into life with increasingly vigorous spasms. Evolving into bipeds, they leapt around the confines of their own squares before venturing out to link up with others.
After this opening routine, there was a long and tedious section in which audience members were taken by the hand and pulled to their feet so that their chairs could be picked up and repositioned. This involved a lot of chuntering, muttering and general messing about to no real purpose. At one point, I was given a whispered instruction to hold a chair above my head until further notice. The significance of this act remained obscure. (Was this perhaps a deckchair from The Titanic?). My unexpected ability to maintain this position for several minutes became, for me, the highlight of the evening.
With the chairs now re-arranged into one big square, the real madness started to take hold; one of the performers was held by two others, while a third read instructions from a clipboard. The instructions required the victim to be prodded and poked in increasingly invasive ways, with members of the audience invited to join in.
Another performer was then stripped down to his pants, manhandled around the square and similarly mistreated, before finishing up centre-stage, lost in a reverie of repeated dance movements, encircled by the audience.
One of the performers then closed the proceedings with what sounded like a declaration/manifesto of some kind, and we were finally allowed to go, dumbfounded and aghast at what we had all just been through.
August 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 17 18:25