I went to Battersea Arts Centre on Wednesday to watch Forced Entertainment’s productionTomorrow’s Parties. I hadn’t seen any of the company’s work before but I had heard some really great comments from a variety of people who have seen previous performances of theirs or have worked with the company – so I was anticipating an impressive performance. Which it really was. It was a brilliant composition, playfully toyed with by two stunning performers and grabbed onto by a full house of unexpectant audiences.
"International innovators Forced Entertainment’s latest performance imagines a multitude of hypothetical futures. On a makeshift fairground stage, wreathed in coloured lights, two performers speculate about what tomorrow might bring. Exploring utopian and dystopian visions, science fiction scenarios, political nightmares and absurd fantasies, the audience is carried along on a flowing tide of dreams and conjecture. Sometimes collaborative, sometimes competitive the two performers exaggerate, contradict and invent, as their playful suppositions take them in different directions.Tomorrow’s Parties is Forced Entertainment in intimate and comical mode – a playful, poignant and at times delirious look forwards to futures both possible and impossible." (Forced Entertainment 2011)
The audience took an hour and fifteen minute journey through a range of hypothetical situations about the future, each time with the performers beginning their sentence with ‘or’. At times it felt like two children squabbling over who could come up with the most ridiculous scenarios that they could possibly imagine. At other times there was a real sense of two ordinary human beings who were full of hopes and dreams for what tomorrow might bring, or not bring. The performers were highly engaging and there was a truly natural air to their performance, I enjoyed their casualness. I must admit that I found myself drifting in and out of full concentration at times, but in a way that let me have a little break from hanging off the edge of my seat to then reconnect with the performers once again. The performers appeared to almost do this at times too, sometimes leaving a story to just hang mid-way as if they were no longer concerned with telling it, or interrupting one another with a new and more exciting ideology, there was a sense of connection and reconnection for everybody there. The performance seemed to me to be completely improvised, perhaps this was because it was so natural but also because they seemed to bounce their ideas about future existence off of one another right there in front of me. However I was surprised to hear during the post-show talk that this performance was a completely written and memorised text. The devising process began with improvisation but the performers told us that eventually it needed to be set, mostly due to its depth and complexity. It was an outstanding performance. If you get a chance, check out Forced Entertainment’s website, it’s really cool! The video trailer above is a different version to the performance I saw because it is by two different performers from the company, but so that you have an idea... enjoy!