THE COMING STORM
directed by: Tim Etchells
running time 105min
In this new work international innovators Forced Entertainment tangle and cross-cut multiple stories to make a compelling and unstable performance. From love and death to sex and laundry, from shipwrecks to falling snow, personal anecdotes rub shoulders with imaginary movies, and half -remembered novels bump into distorted fairytales.
Using a method as inventive as it is absurd, six performers create, collaborate, ambush and disrupt this epic saga that is resolutely too big for the stage. The result is comical, contradictory and poignant; full of wrong- headed tricks, broken dances, sleazy drum interruptions and perfunctory piano accompaniment. Everything builds and everything shimmers. Everything teeters and everything trembles. Everything is reshaped and everything is cannibalised. The Coming Storm is Forced Entertainment at its best – trademark black humour, a collage of arresting images and an anarchic performance style.
The Coming Storm is a big, boisterous, messy show which alternates between moments of high comedy and stiller, sadder reflections to create a piece full of light and shade which stays with you long after the performance. It begins with the performers walking onto an empty stage, one of them starts to riff on what elements make a good story, talking directly to the audience. Before long the rest of them jostle to start telling their own stories, some are ridiculously over-blown, some feel genuine, some are shocking, some are fantastical… They each have to fight for the microphone to win the attention of the audience for their tale.
Before long they are upstaging each other with amateurish props and crude costumes or trying to derail one another’s stories by providing wildly inappropriate musical accompaniment or throwing in questions and interruptions. Soon the stage is a compelling collage of fragmented narrative, broken dances, driving rhythms and shifting chemistry between the performers. As these styles and stories rub up against each other the mood changes from hilarity to poignancy to conflict, unsettling, provoking and amusing the audience.
It’s hard to describe a Forced Entertainment show being ‘about’ something and The Coming Storm is no different, it’s more about an experience – enjoying conflict and questions and laughter and the raw feeling of liveness which the shape-shifting of the narratives and the atmosphere created. It’s a very funny, dark and disconcerting night of storytelling, theatrical anarchy and upstaging.
Tim Etchells is the artistic director of Forced Entertainment and one of the founding members of the company. Alongside his work with the group, Tim works independently as writer, director and artist on a variety of solo projects as well as on collaborations with other artists in different media.
Tim’s work spans performance, video, photography, text and installation projects, and fiction. His first novel The Broken World was published in 2008 and his monograph on contemporary performance and Forced Entertainment, Certain Fragments is widely acclaimed. Most recently he has published a book version of his scurrilousweb project Vacuum Days. His recent performance projects include Sight is the Sense That Dying People Tend to Lose First with actor Jim Fletcher, in pieces with Rosas dancer Fumiyo Ikeda, Although We Fell Short with Kate McIntosh and That Night Follows Day, a piece performed by a cast of 14 children for adult audiences and made in collaboration with Flemish theatre company Campo.
In recent years Etchells has exhibited widely in the context of visual arts, with solo shows at Gasworks and Sketch (London), Künstlerhaus Bremen and Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow. His work has appeared in the biennales Manifesta 7 (2008) in Rovereto, Italy, Art Sheffield 2008, Goteborg Bienale (2009), October Salon Belgrade (2010), Aichi Trienale, Japan 2010. 1st Time Machine Biennale of Contemporary Art, Atomic shelter Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina (2011).
Selected group shows include Family Matters: The Family in British Art at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery (2011), touring to Museums Sheffield and Tate Britain, The Moon Is An Arrant Thief, David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2010), Play Admont, Regional 10, Austria (2010), In Full Bloom at Galleria Raffaella Cortesa in Milan (2010), Mein Essen Heidelberger Kunstverein (2010), Netherlands Media Art Institute (Amsterdam), MUHKA (Antwerp), Sparwasser HQ (Berlin), MACBA (Barcelona), The Centre for Book Arts, Canada and Exit Art (all New York) and Kunsthaus Graz. He co-curated and had new commissioned work in the Performing Sculpture section of the DLA Piper Series: This is Sculpture, at Tate Liverpool (2009). Etchells’s two permanent site specific public sculpture commissions for Weston-Super-Mare in the UK, opened in Autumn 2010 and he was nominated for the Northern Art Prize in 2011 and longlisted for the 2013 prize.
He collaborates with performance maker and writer Matthew Goulish on the imaginary think-tank Institute of Failure and is currently Legacy: Thinker in Residence at Tate Research and LADA in London. Tim is Professor of Performance at The University of Sheffield.
Since forming the company in 1984, the six core members of the group have sustained a unique artistic partnership for quarter of a century, confirming time and again their position as trailblazers in contemporary theatre. The company’s substantial canon of work reflects an interest in the mechanics of performance, the role of the audience and the machinations of contemporary urban life. The work – framed and focused by Artistic Director Tim Etchells - is distinctive and provocative, delighting in disrupting the conventions of theatre and the expectations of audiences.
Forced Entertainment’s trademark collaborative process – devising work as a group through improvisation, experimentation and debate – has made them pioneers of British avant-garde theatre and earned them an unparalleled international reputation.