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Pushing Boundaries

I found this article on How Far Should Theatre push us the other week. It was a description about In Between Time festival, in Bristol. This festival since reading about it has been stuck in my brain. The focus of the programming was intimacy. Reading about it made me wish I was there to witness firsthand and develop my opinion about it. In the article Lyn Gardner described some theatre firsts for me onstage: "Over in the more conventional theatre spaces there was intimacy of the genital kind. In How To Become a Cupcake, the self-styled Famous Lauren Barri Holstein inserted a Twister lolly into her vagina and spent several minutes melting it with a hairdryer. Kein Applaus Fur Scheisse, by two young graduates from the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam, contained a sequence in which the boy vomited bright blue liquid over the girl's stomach, before urinating directly into her mouth." I scoured the rest of the article hoping to put the vagina sucker and vomit, urinating boy in some type of context because that is immediately where my brain demanded to see WHY these devices were used on stage. I went to the shows' sites and found that How To Become a Cupcake "plays with and against visual fetishizations of the female body." While the other piece, Kein Aplaus Fur Scheisse, "flirt with the limits of each other and with everything that is possible onstage. The result is a surprising and rich portrait of contemporary pop culture." So in all honesty this still didn't answer the need I had for a reason of the extremes used in their art. But then that made me question myself... does there have to be reason for the action? Does the reason behind it make it art or the act itself? What makes art? What is pushing the boundaries and what is shock value? It made me think of one of my favorite quotes which is by Pablo Picasso, "The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls." Art should inspire and that inspiration is due to the artist's vision. There is awe, beauty, peace, fear and an array of other emotions art can invoke. As a director, I am drawn to pieces that make me examine myself and the world around me and because of that there is an eagerness in me to share that story with audiences. A glimpse of one moment in the piece makes it too hard for me to evaluate what the work is about. It brought up questions for me and also some disturbing visuals though. I want next time to be able hop on a plane and attend the festival myself so I can really assess the work!

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