1000thNightCWilliams

Illustrated by C Williams
http://catherinewilliams.weebly.com/

On the 22nd March, acclaimed collaborative performance company Forced Entertainment staged their work And on the Thousandth Night as part of Artist of the City 2014 in Lisbon. This is a six hour durational piece:

A story is told, made up live, dragged from memory by a line of eight performers dressed as Kings and Queens, wearing cheap red cloaks and cardboard crowns. It is a long, mutating and endlessly self-cancelling story. It is a story which somehow, in its many dips and turns, seems to include many — if not all — of the stories in the world. Moving from the extraordinary to the banal, it mixes everything from film plots, religious stories, children’s stories, traditional tales, jokes and modern myths, to scary stories, love stories and sex stories.

The Kings and Queens compete, interrupting, exaggerating, taking over each other’s narratives and incorporating stolen bits into their own tales. Their storytelling moves between tiredness and hysteria, between absurd vulgarity and surprising tenderness. At times, some of the Kings and Queens take a break to sleep on the floor at the back of the space whilst their colleagues continue. At ten at night, perhaps, there are only two Kings left speaking, pushing on the tale, as one by one, the others come forward to rejoin the line.

ForcedEntertainmentHeader

Photo by Hugo Glendinning
http://www.hugoglendinning.com

To document the performance, I was invited to participate in a corresponding multi-authored, durational critical writing project hosted by Exeunt Magazine. The writers were stationed in London, Melbourne and Berlin with a brief to respond to the performance’s live-stream provided by the British Council; our texts were contributed in real-time as the piece played. The critical co/(r)/respondents featured the brilliant Jana Perkovic, Deborah PearsonAnette Therese PettersenBojana Jankovic, Daniel B. Yates and curator Diana Damian Martin, all of whom took ‘questions of duration, text, narrative, performance, error, invention, failure and time itself, alongside those of distance, attention, fragmentation and being together, digitally’ into consideration.

CWilliamsDesk

The project can be found here, in reverse order, and an artist’s live sketches of the event were produced by Århus’ Catherine Williams for Generative Constraints journal; please click the drawn images for more information.

Comments are closed.