Scattered Tacks [FringeTIX]
Terri Cat Silvertree, Skye & Aelx Gellmann @ Bosco Theater
11:00pm, Mon 2 Mar 2009
So – the Bosco drops into inky darkness, and the only sound to be heard is the pissed ramblings of people outside. Terri Cat and one of the Gellmann brothers appear, sporting bright white LED flashlights, which illuminate each other as they slowly, carefully, ever-so-deliberately stalk around the stage. Little mini-spotlights, grabbing a face, or a hand, or a shoulder… even as Terri Cat, lying on her back with legs in the air, gets pushed around like a lawnmower, there’s a beauty to the minimal visuals drowned in near silence. Light, shadow – I’m a sucker for that sort of thing.
But then a bowling ball appears, and is rolled around the floor. Light, shadow, lovely… for the first minute. After the fifth minute, it’s getting a little samey… then dull. There’s some circus-y balance tricks that cause the audience to clap, as we’ve been accustomed to do with all the other circus acts over the years, and that breaks the spell. Terri Cat stands centre stage and peels an onion, then eats it… over the course of five minutes. Five minutes, watching someone eat an onion. In silence. From the first bite, I knew that we were waiting for the tears to roll down her cheek, but when they came they lacked any kind of significance, any sense of weight.
One of the Gellmanns appears stage right, wearing only a jumper just short enough to be showing his cock. He brushes his teeth whilst balanced atop a few tubes; when he drops to the ground, there’s a brief moment of consternation that he may catch his man-junk on the edge of one of the tubes, but the dismount is successful. The eponymous scattered tacks are scattered on the floor, laid upon, and a bowling ball dropped onto the stomach of the layee; in the minimalist light, it all appears secretive, secluded – and not for my eyes.
It’s a real shame, this. The early experiments with light in an uncomfortable silence were glorious – it felt utterly alien, like I was watching someone’s private rituals alone in the dark – but all that was shattered by that first, uneasy applause. Thereafter, nearly everything missed the mark – extended periods where nothing really happened (eating the onion, brushing teeth) had no theatrical impact, and just came across as self-indulgent wankery. The zine we were presented with on the way out is the icing on the triple-layer coffee-cream sponge cake – “Terri, Aelx and Skye live and work together in an abandoned apartment block… Through squatting and scavenging, the artists try to boycott the monetary system which often works to destroy artist.” That’s all very well and good, kids, but sometimes it’s good to… y’know… have content in your artistic endeavours.
Maybe it was there, and maybe I just missed it all. There was raptuous applause from those who stayed for the duration… but I just didn’t see it. Sometimes “different” just isn’t “good”.