“We are going to try to bore you to death,” a woman speaks deeply into a microphone as she stares blankly at the audience. Sat at a table draped in a black cloth, her eyes widen as she introduces us to the hypnotically poetic narrative.
Sleepwalk Collective have created an incredibly immersive piece of theatre that explores our perception of art. They play with the idea of patriarchy, the male dominance in the history of art and its influence on the art created today. It opens as the three women declare war, they claim we are trapped inside their performance and they will use every inch of their being to take us hostage.
They cleverly use footnotes to narrate the performance. Throughout the piece they place a plastic marker with a number on in different areas around the stage, which is then reflected onto a screen with the number and a description of a prop that isn’t there – as the audience imagine what the performance would look like if that object was on the stage.
Centering around the idea of women, they touch upon the irony of women representing Chekhov’s three dull and boring sisters. They fight against stereotype quietly and subtly but with a lot of power. Whilst the piece lacks pace and action, it’s utterly captivating. There are moments we are merely watching the three women sit silently on the stage, but everything they do is so artistic that it holds great force.
The lighting plays a huge part in the production, as we are constantly plunged into darkness, creating a sense of anticipation and mystery. Imposing an important message, to make the arts equal for women, they interject classical stories and figures into the performance to contextualise the piece.
It’s a sharply intense piece that will leave you feeling unbalanced and entranced, but thinking about it for days.
More information on the Orbit Festival can be found here.