Performance piece strikes out
Thirteen: Protest Part 1 is more concerned with artistic self-importance than the hardship that supposedly informs it
Thirteen: Protest Part 1
14 Henrietta Street
Part of Anu Productions’ interconnected and site-specific examination of the 1913 Dublin lockout, this performance piece underlines, if nothing else, how the artistic response to politics has lost its direction over the past century. An interactive event held in a derelict tenement room, with a single mute female performer standing in a corner, Protest Part 1 requires audience members to carry out tasks from a series of instruction cards, from “feed her” and “tickle her” to “spit on her”, with penalties for those who refuse such queasy stunts. The atmosphere is suitably uncomfortable and awkward, and not without a certain frisson, but beyond its painfully signposted message about power relationships, it tells us little about real hardship and injustice, past or present. It also seems incredibly smug in execution. It may be unreasonable to expect a Fringe event to yield even a small fraction of the rage and depth of WB Yeats’s September 1913, but nevertheless, this was little more than a self-absorbed theatrical game portentously piggybacking history.
Ends Sept 21