Skinned

First published in Stage by

David Waring has chosen to take his Hustler series to the next level. For installation number three, he will perform naked in a toilet.

An audience of one will join him, and the loos in The Nightingale will finally take centre-stage.

But why, I hear you ask, is he to perform in that most private of spaces?

“There is a sense the performer is offering a service to the viewer,” he says rather coyly, testing to see if his latest work is in for a tabloid-style dressing down.

“It’s about being up close with the performer. I guess it’s a demonstration of the equality of the roles.”

He says that theme underpins a series of pieces which all share a guerrilla element.

“Also there is the surprise element. The idea that it is an unfamiliar space but very familiar to everyone and what one might expect to see in such a place.”

Waring’s original Hustler was a performance for Capital Nights theatre festival in Liverpool.

Guerilla theatre

Again the idea was to question the position of the audience in shaping the performer’s role.

He pretended to be involved as front of house staff to audience members but later interrupted the show with a performance.

In Hustler #2 he pounced on passersby and danced for them outside the O2 in London.

Hustler #4.5 (because it is four and a half minutes long) is one of a three-strong show billed as Skinned.

It opens the show before Theo Clinkard’s Hell Bent, “employing an illusion that dates back to 1584… six minutes considering the subjectivity of good and evil” and The Nightingale’s Democratic Dance Team by Gillie Kleiman. The latter is “dramatic movement of writing to Members of Parliament… a powerful jig whose aim is to re-route powers with new motions”.

Waring says he feels there is conservatism in theatre. The audience always know what is asked of them. By taking his approach, he is making a more direct connection.

He has chosen to do so in the most extreme way possible.

Could this be an attempt to shock, to draw attention to the performer?

He giggles like a naughty child. “My role is creating a hygienic space for the audience member to be in. The idea of being naked is I am baring myself in a maximum way, so it’s not meant to be a show of that per se, and in that way it’s not meant to be titillating or provocative.

“The fact is, generally, the performer has control in a performance space and the audience member is there to watch. Here, I am the performance.”

The choreographer and performer, who has worked with Ricochet Dance Company and is a graduate of London’s Trinity Laban school, says every show will be unique because the viewer will influence his work.

“I will make choices based on the energy I get from them, the communication between us.”

Still, he admits to being nervous.

“Yes, I am: for the obvious reasons and for something else.”

There will be a steward on hand to step in should things go down the wrong avenue.

“They’ll be told they are not allowed to touch me. I guess it’s just because it’s such an enclosed intimate space, generally small and just the fact you are in there with someone where the theatrical boundaries are unclear and the proximity is so close.”

The steward will also help the punters choose which music they listen to.

Waring has picked a list of songs with something in common to dovetail with his theatrical score. He will pick sections from the score for each person.

“They can pick their own music and I will not be able to hear it. I’m not dancing to the music but the sense of the song.”

  • The Nightingale, Surrey Street, Brighton, Friday, January 25, and Saturday, January 26. Timed entries every 20 minutes from 7.30pm, £8.50/£6.50, visit www.brownpapertickets.com or call 0800 4118881

Comments (1)

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10:06pm Fri 25 Jan 13

John Steed says...

performance art the man is a fool, i have performed naked in my loo for years, normally alone, and i do not need to ask members of the public what i should do. as an experienced performer in loos and occasionaly outside in open spaces, mainly in eastern europe where such things are commonplace, usualy emulating a bear in the woods, i would not want to inflict my performance on another human being. one particular enigma raised by such performances is where is the back of a tree, my person experience is the choreographed movement is limited but much can be made of varied sound effects.
performance art the man is a fool, i have performed naked in my loo for years, normally alone, and i do not need to ask members of the public what i should do. as an experienced performer in loos and occasionaly outside in open spaces, mainly in eastern europe where such things are commonplace, usualy emulating a bear in the woods, i would not want to inflict my performance on another human being. one particular enigma raised by such performances is where is the back of a tree, my person experience is the choreographed movement is limited but much can be made of varied sound effects. John Steed
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