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Foreman shakes it up

Rebecca Smee, I’ve Got the Shakes Rebecca Smee, I’ve Got the Shakes
Max Lyandvert and his collaborators did a good job of Richard Foreman’s My Head was a Sledgehammer at Belvoir St Downstairs in 2002, a rare and welcome opportunity to see the work of a modern master in Australia. Although the small space was less revealing of the New York playwright/director’s integral design vision (magically mutating habitats often re-shaped by the performers), the production nonetheless realised Foreman’s manic, jokey, esoteric and sometimes affecting vision. One of the performers in My Head was a Sledgehammer, Melissa Madden-Gray gives a vivid account on page 4 of this edition of Foreman’s latest work at the recent Zuercher Theater Spektakel.

With their associative constructions and broken theatre rules, Foreman’s plays particularly appeal to connoisseurs of contemporary performance and visual art, but they can be refreshing for the jaded theatre palate. In I’ve got the shakes, says the company, “the characters are disoriented, unsure of where the stage begins and ends. They are caught up in inscrutable plots and speak as though they have just begun to learn language. The play only exists in the present moment, and the whole evening is made up of numerous present moments...which invite the audience to refocus their attention and revise their interpretation.” For the characters, performers and audience alike this should prove an entertaining night of metaphysical pratfalls and existential sublimes. RT

Richard Foreman, I’ve got the shakes, director Max Lyandvert, The Darlinghurst Theatre, Sydney, from March 4

RealTime issue #59 Feb-March 2004 pg. 42

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