Friday, 22 June 2007

The Joy of Live Theatre

There’s still something magical about life theatre. The performance is happening there and then right in front of us. Unlike films or television, there are no cut-a-ways or re-takes for fluffed lines. The performance is there in a hundred percent reality. The actor’s performance is there before us, all the nuance and emotions are there in the flesh, even if they’re just sitting still they are still performing, there is a live connection with the audience. There is nothing quite like it.

Last Saturday night we went to Tim Miller perform his latest one-man performance piece 1001 Beds, and it was as electric and gripping as all the other performances of his we have seen. The phrase “performance piece” puts so many people off, visions of obscure theatre were everything has “meaning” but only those “in-the-know” understand it, leaving the rest of us bewildered and bored. Tim Miller’s performance pieces are anything but this. His pieces are built up from a combination of his memories and own experiences, political observations (especially around American politics) and amazing flights of fantasy.

1001 Beds takes its starting point and title from the fact that, as a performance artist, he travels a lot and has slept in so many different hotel beds. At first it is a light-hearted look at the strange world of hotels and hotel rooms. But soon he moved onto his own intermit experiences of hotel rooms, especially the first night he spent with his lover Alistair in a London hotel room in 1994. The piece ends with a glorious fantasy about the end of Bush’s presidency.

Tim Miller’s performances are always passionate and full of energy, one single man filling the whole stage available to him. 1001 Beds was no different, with the occasional use of a microphone, he filled the whole of the huge barn-like stage at the Drill Hall Theatre. He even managed to form an intermit bond with us the audience, as we sat there in the semi-dark. When he talked of that first night with his lover Alistair, in that tatty London hotel, his own face was light-up with both love and passion.

The joy of any Tim Miller performance is the passion and energy he always fills them with। 1001 Beds was no disappointment either.


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