Review

Entertainment Island: Oblivia

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Upon entering the theatre we are told by the usher to fill up the front row. On stage one woman sits on a chair in the corner and two other performers stand on stage, looking at us. I have no intention of sitting in the front row, and I experience my first feelings of guilt during this performance: is it my duty to sit in the front row? I have been asked to, others are avoiding, no-one will hurt me if I do and maybe it will make the show better/easier for the performers. After all, I am a performer – must I show my solidarity by sitting the front row? Later I go to watch a film and the protagonist talks about a child who always sits at the back of the classroom. He, the teacher, approves of this saying that from this vantage point you cannot be seen but you can see everybody else. This is the experience I want when I go to watch a show. Call me old fashioned.

I compromise and sit in the second row.

Eventually the lights go down on the eerily smiling faces of the performers and the show begins proper. Sat on a bench, looking at three performers in mismatched casual clothes, with evidently different kinds of training, moving, gesticulating, wearing inane smiles for so long that they start to make me feel a little doolally, I feel like I am watching a series of physical theatre improvisation exercises. I remain curious as pedestrian activities (jogging, pointing, walking) are repeated to a spoken soundtrack of encouragement by one performer to another –

“YOU LOOK GOOD! THERE, YOU ARE, LOO-KING GOOD.”

“HERE WE GO.”

“RIGHT BEHIND YOU. AND YOU LOOK GOOOOOOOD.”

It’s quite funny and I enjoy watching the awkwardness of Timo Fredriksson in comparison to the neatness and precision of Anna Krzystek’s movement. When Annika Tudeer enters the dynamic and energetic investment people associate with Dancing happens – AHA! Now is my time to enter! Jump and…plié à la seconde! BOOM! Sharp gesture with my right hand and my arm slices through the air. BOOM! I have arrived! – I always find this repellent, this change in physicality and attitude and presence, when you see somebody visibly begin to decide that what they are doing is now important.

I feel as though many people are using their work to highlight bad things about the world. This is basically complaining and complaining is not productive? generative? helpful? I know ‘the system’ is bad causing many people to suffer and turning me into a worse human being. And what? I am tired of weak satire. I am more provoked to think and act by things like this.

Entertainment Island is three-hours long. At the interval, I have another crisis of obligation – I do not want to stay but I am supposed to review the show and how can I write a fair review if I have not seen the whole thing?!

I leave after the interval.

Credits

Oblivia:

founder/artistic director/performer: Annika Tudeer (FIN)

core member/performer: Anna Krzystek (UK)

core member/performer: Timo Fredriksson (FIN)

production & tour manager: Marina Andersson-Rahikka (FIN)

photographer, webmaster: Eija Mäkivuoti (FIN)

light designer: Meri Ekola (FIN)

composer/sound designer: Juuso Voltti (FIN)

graphic designer: Pia Pettersson (FIN)

Part of SPILL Festival

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