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Gary Stevens

Photo: Tansy Spinks
1991 – 1992

Multiple ceiling lamps light the stage. A white line defines a rectangular playing area. A performer enters, walks around and stops. This becomes a position that all the performers adopt.

Other positions are established in the same way. A pose or stance is attributed to each position and eventually the position acquires a name. Twelve characters holding static poses are created in this way; any of the performers can play any of the characters by sitting or standing in their place. A conversation begins between the twelve characters. The performers run from one ‘character’ to another, trying to to keep up the conversation. The conversation itself is not significant, but has to be maintained to preserve the identity and life of the named characters.

The characters are defined by their position so they cannot move. The static picture is maintained by the three performers running from place to place.

The performers are now given objects to hold. The characters show them like symbols in emblematic pictures of saints. The characters can now move but cannot give up their objects.

Originally performed by Gary Stevens and Caroline Wilkinson. Developed for three performers with Andrew Davenport and later with Neale Goodrum. Technical support and assistance by Beth Hardisty.

Originally performed by Gary Stevens and Caroline Wilkinson.

Kings College, Cambridge; Heatwave Festival, Serpentine Gallery, London; ICA Theatre, London; Goldsmiths’ College Gallery, London

Developed for three performers with Andrew Davenport and later with Neale Goodrum.

Brighton Festival, Zap Club, Brighton; Old Museum Art Centre, Belfast; Shaftsbury hall, Cheltenham; The Leadmill, Sheffield; The Green Room, Manchester; Purcell Room, South Bank, London; Scottish Highlands: Ballachulish, Lyth, Skerray; The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, Scotland; The Haymarket Studio, Leicester; Chisenhale Gallery, London; Now 92, Powerhouse, Nottingham; Mayfest, CCA, Glasgow

“Names impose labels, and establish social as well as individual identities, so these three casually switch names, the men taking on female names, or all three adopting the same name and identity by contributing in rotation to the one, drawn out sentence. They leap from one position to another, to allow them to recreate caricature forms of melodramatic tales of infidelity and betrayal, or to recall quiet domestic scenes…”

The Scotsman

“it takes another twist. It becomes like pass the parcel, with roles being handed over to another player who has to keep the story going… The sheer complexity of the structure, with its apparent randomness, constantly challenges the audience…”

The Herald

“Soon it becomes clear that the stage is a room full of people… the cast of three move faster and faster from seat to seat, in a bid to keep up continuity. Finally the mental plate-spinning becomes too much. The players lose the thread and the thin veneer of make believe falls away…. all the appeal of a crossword, and all the frustration of a Rubik’s cube. Like it or loathe it, this highly original piece of work stays in the mind much longer than anticipated, ghostly echoes of the ghostly Green family imprinted, like an old photograph, on the brain.”

Belfast Telegraph
Photo: Tansy Spinks