Tomorrow’s Parties is Forced Entertainment in intimate and comical mode – a playful, poignant and at times delirious look forwards to futures both possible and impossible. On an empty stage, illuminated with coloured light bulbs, two actors – a man and a woman – speculate about a hypothetical reality of tomorrow, touching upon both trivial and global matters. Will we all face life in one gigantic city? Will most people become serial killers? Or maybe only five people will survive and live in one common house? Will Africa become a dominant continent? Will China disappear from the face of the Earth and will the power be seized by children who do not know how to use a pen? The stories vary from utopia to dystopia, from the visions of crazy scientists, political prognosis and a nightmare to ridiculously funny, flippant fantasies. They expose conventionality of the reality we live in – the world believed to be safe, unchanging and comprehensible. Yet, there is no single answer to an ironic question about the title parties. The combination of hundreds of possibilities replaces certainty. However, no alternative is final and none brings complete confidence as to what awaits us.
Meeting with Tim Etchells and actors from Forced Entertainment 21/06, 21:30
The work Sheffield-based Forced Entertainment make tries to explore what theatre and performance can mean in contemporary life and is always a kind of conversation or negotiation, something that needs to be live. The group are interested in making performances that excite, challenge, question and entertain. They’re interested in courting confusion as well as laughter.
They group began working together in 1984; in the many projects created since then they have made lists, played games, spoken gibberish, stayed silent, made a mess, dressed up, stripped down, confessed to it all, performed magic tricks, told jokes, clowned around, played dead, got drunk, told stories and performed for six, twelve and even 24 hours at a stretch. They’ve worked on texts, they’ve danced and moved, they’ve fixed things meticulously, they’ve improvised. They’ve made serious work that turned out to be comical, and comical work that turned out to be deadly serious, digging deep into theatre and performance, thinking about what those things might be for them and what kinds of dialogue they can open with contemporary audiences.
As well as performance works, the company have made gallery installations, site-specific pieces, books, photographic collaborations, videos and even a mischievous guided bus tour. In many ways the 6 core members – a unique 30 year artistic collaboration – are the bedrock of everything the group does, a rare example of people building, maintaining and continuing to develop a vocabulary, a way of working and innovating together over a long period of time.
Forced Entertainment are: Robin Arthur, Tim Etchells (Artistic Director), Richard Lowdon (Designer), Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden and Terry O’Connor.
Conceived and devised by the company: Robin Arthur, Tim Etchells, Richard Lowdon, Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden and Terry O’Connor
Performers Forced Entertainment
Direction: Tim Etchells
Design: Richard Lowdon
Lighting Design: Francis Stevenson
Production: Ray Rennie and Jim Harrison
Co-Producers: Tomorrow’s Parties is a production of Belluard Bollwerk International, made possible thanks to a contribution of the Canton of Fribourg to culture. In co-production with BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen), Internationales Sommerfestival (Hamburg), Kaaitheater (Brussels), Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt), Theaterhaus Gessnerallee (Zurich) and Sheffield City Council.
With the support of Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation.
Forced Entertainment Creative Team: Robin Arthur, Tim Etchells (Artistic Director), Richard Lowdon (Designer), Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden and Terry O’Connor.
Forced Entertainment Management Team: Eileen Evans (Executive Director), Jim Harrison (Production Manager), Natalie Simpson (Office Manager), Sam Stockdale (Marketing Manager).