Monday, 6 July 2015

Re:Con Sensored @ Contact, 27.06.15

While suffering severe writer’s block I set myself a challenge: to write one thing a day, using a quirky book of writing prompts. For example, I was challenged to ‘write about a place you love’. That pesky barricade was no problem for me: I wrote about theatre. Theatre for me is not a mere place but an experience, one I believe makes me understand more of the human condition and the world. Where else do you actually experience someone else’s existence, stepping into their shoes and seeing through their eyes? However, that only extends to seeing and what would it be like if we actually got to physically experience another person's reality? Re:Con - the young production team from Contact, have explored this idea with Sensored.

Sensored is a programme of art and performance that allows the audience to experience the world without one of their five senses. Depending on your remaining four, you approach theatre in a new way with rewarding results. The nine events tantalize or suppress the senses and range from performances, to panel discussions, to a dinner in the dark.

There were also some clever activities and aesthetic choices at the venue itself that added to the experience, like bubble wrap on the arms rests (fun to feel and a satisfying to pop). There was also some ‘market research’ to gauge how much you could taste without your sense of smell (in case you were wondering cheddar cheese is still pretty potent).

As for the work itself, it was nothing short of penetrative. I first lost my sight as I was asked to do someone’s makeup blindfolded for Francis Kay’s Make Me Beautiful. The one-to-one performance explores how the loss of sight can affect everyday tasks.

Next I watched Hiatus – a performance which is deprived of sound. Wearing earplugs and earphones you imagine your own score to accompany the two dancers, one non-disabled and one wheel chair user. Both move beautifully with shared strength and power.

Having worked up an appetite I visited the Empty Kitchen, only to be informed by two ‘waiters’ that the kitchen had no food. Instead, we are served up a three-course meal of delicious words and food you can feel but not taste – the first time I’ve had a jalfrezi made of screws and marbles!

A new kind of theatre is coming, and Contact is leading the way.

Words: Kate Morris

Image: Courtesy of Contact

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