Events Archive

  • Alice Theobald in 'The Bear Pit'
  • 8 August 2015, 6.00pm to 8.00pm
  • FPG Gallery 1

During her three week residency in ‘The Bear Pit’, Alice Theobald will draw from research on ‘The Theatre of the Absurd’ a term coined by critic Martin Esslin in a 1960 essay. The term references a style of theatre associated with the work of a group of playwrights in the late 1950s, which cohered with philosopher Albert Camus’ existentialist view that the human situation is essentially absurd in its struggle to find purpose and to control its fate.

For Theobald’s project in Southend-on-Sea, the locality becomes a source of material and inspiration, while ‘The Bear Pit’ itself emerges as a site for experimentation, process, and performance. The space will simultaneously host the production and ‘the production’ itself. This paradox is relished, denying a sense of finality or ‘end product’ while, at the same time, presenting and playing itself out as something staged and worthy of observation. Plot will be eliminated through the use of dislocated language, word-play,

clichés and repetitions- allowing potential for a timeless, nonsense and circular quality to emerge.

The project will continue Alice Theobald’s interest in live performance, video, installation and music as a means to actively explore the division between stage and life, alongside the discrepancy between expression, appearance and feeling. Borrowing from the vocabulary of cinema, television, theatre, literature and musical scores, Theobald is interested in the make-up and construction of performance, the challenges of acting and the blurring of character creation on and off ‘stage’. Questions of representation, manipulation, sincerity and genuine behaviour circulate the action. Layered wordplay, gesture, repetition and double-entendres accumulate to multi-faceted compositions, which reflect and loop back on themselves – becoming slippery, tragicomic truths about relationships, everyday life and typically introspective paranoia and doubts.

Curated by Grand Union, Birmingham