Cock and Bull, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, University of Sussex, April 19, 7.30pm, £12, call 01273 678822

IN LATE autumn last year, a number of serious media outlets published articles about one man’s strange hand signals. Their subject was, of course, Donald Trump. Journalists were busy consulting experts to find out just how Trump’s gestures had influenced voters.

Was the presidential candidate even conscious of his finger movements? Did they come from some subliminal place? Or were they highly calculated methods of manipulation? Only team Trump knows for sure. What is certain is that the public are increasingly aware of politicians’ tics, broadcast as they are to millions on live TV debates. After witnessing all of the speeches of the 2014 Conservative party conference, performance artist Nic Green felt compelled to make art out of political jargon.

“I felt overwhelmed by the presentation of mostly white, male, middle-aged, privileged voices, stuck in the blatant repetitions of catchphrase, motto and tag line,” wrote Green in a Guardian article explaining Cock and Bull, the production that came out of the conference binge. The show is effectively an alternative political convention using the most-heard phrases from political rhetoric. Is it Green’s intention to repeat such jargon to such a grotesque extent that it loses all meaning, thereby exposing the absurdity of the language in the first place?

“It is absurd, completely absurd,” she says. “The language becomes meaningless. There’s also something about the power of exorcising that language, too – by exhausting it, you rid yourself of it.” Green points to the phrases “hard-working people, people who work hard” and “fairness to the system”, often heard in that 2014 conference, as an example of the rhetoric she plays around with in Cock and Bull.

“I don’t think those kind of meetings are designed to be watched back-to-back by the public. When you look at it from outside the political scene you realise how disingenuous the words are, and how representative they are of the ‘action’ that’s actually taken in the world. While there is humour in the impersonations of Cock and Bull (see also Alec Baldwin’s Trump persona on Saturday Night Live) the show is underpinned by political injustice.

“Making this work only reinforced how polarised i felt in relation to these men in navy suits, telling me repeatedly of a ‘land of opportunity for all’ which most of us will never see,” Green wrote in The Guardian.

“It’s about trying to find a way through a system that you feel does not represent you. What do you do when you feel your voice goes unheard?” Politico-speak is nothing new, so why does Green think Cock and Bull will strike a chord with contemporary audiences particularly?

“I’m only 35, so can’t think too far back, but perhaps there has been a change where language has developed to the point where people don’t know how to respond to it. There’s nothing to say to these phrases. They’re not questions, they’re not ideas, they’re just words that vaguely allude to something positive.”

When asked if she is wary of preaching to the converted with Cock and Bull (in that people inclined to see it will most likely share the political views of Green) the performer says it is her dream to take the show to non-theatre spaces and create a wider discussion. “We need to be better at disagreeing with each other and discussing these things.” Ultimately, she sees satire as a “good way of clawing back power".

“We can’t knock on the door of number 10 and demand a conversation but we can use our voices, bodies and energy to claim some agency in the world.”