Friday, 30 November 2012

Originally Published in The Skinny: Uninvited Guests in the past

Although I was tempted by the Speed Dating- the closest thing I have had to a date lately is a death threat from a burlesque dancer- I hauled myself back into a tent to catch Uninvited Guests and Fuel: Love Letters Straight from Your Heart. Uninvited Guests are National Review of Live Art veterans. I hoped for a little old school physical theatre.
Love Letters is partially improvised from ‘dedications’ made by the audience. We are invited to dedicate a song to somebody that we love, with a brief explanation. Between the two performers own musical selections and stories, the dedications are played, the explanations read out. Reasoning I was far enough from home for anonymity, I offered my own guilt-ridden secret love.
I spend the first half of the performance wondering whether they’d read mine out. Other people would smile wistfully or wipe away a tear when their choices emerged. We drink toasts to lovers, are reminded about love rituals and celebrations around the world, laugh at The Darkness’ cock-rock insincerity. Then, suddenly, I recognise the opening chords.
It feels odd to have my words read out. I try not to twist in my chair, knowing that the brief conversation that I had had with the people next to me had been long enough to make it clear that this was my dedication. I squirm and compose my features. I notice how my words are so tormented against the gentler, earlier requests. Someone had managed to describe their grandfather’s escape from a civil war with less mania than my brief declaration. My attempt to describe the battle between taste and expectation is an absurd melodrama, something I ought to remember the next time I am critical of a script’s insincerity.
Love Letters exploits the ability of a pop song to become saturated with emotion, to give profound meaning to memories, while celebrating the way it can connect people. It makes sense of the musical domination of Latitude, genuinely working a fusion of theatre and pop. As the performance ends- the actors on the floor, embracing beneath thrown flowers and the audience dancing together in awkward pairs- a storm opens up the sky and rattles the tarpaulin.

No comments :

Post a Comment