The Simple Things in Life
Five opportunities to meditate on what we should value
This article is from 2011.
Against the backdrop of festival chaos, Fuel theatre provides individual spaces for a slightly different, enclosed experience. Walking through the gates of the Botanic Gardens already provides respite from pounding the cobbles of the Royal Mile, and the title of the show begins to resonate. With the only confines of a pop-up garden shed, five very different artists have created responses to their own notion of basic values. You buy tickets in 'journeys', sets of three sheds grouped by the Fuel curators in order to give coherence.
My journey began in 'Makiko's Shed', its interior resembling a David Lynch-style motel lined in red and mirrors and dominated by an animal skull. Makiko struts in time with music, shifting between human dancer and animal creature with cheeky hair flicks and tongue twitches. The '2011 Annual Science Demonstration and Space Fête' was a truly bizarre comedy presentation about an underground particle accelerator on a small Irish island - a less poetic interpretation of the theme, but entertaining nonetheless, not least to hear horse sounds being made with a trombone. By contrast, Lewis Gibson has us contemplating the metaphorical silence we strive for in the act of reading.
While in 'Yes, But it's Complicated' the smell of wood varnish in a shed-cum-camping lodge moves us to ponder the significance of a table, it is the tactile soil-covered floor and sounds of balloons tugging at the roof in 'Song Field' that prick the senses. These installations are respectively shocking, funny, and serious, but most importantly, refreshingly land us outside of our expectations of theatre and performance.