Sex & Death (1981 - 1985)

Photo: Ben van Duin
Photo: Ben van Duin
Photo: Ben van Duin
Photo: Ben van Duin
Photo: Ben van Duin

Sex and Death was a madman's bedroom farce in which the very identities of the participants were at stake, where the threat of being caught in a compromising position gave way to a much more dangerous one, that of being identified at all. It is the paranoid fear of being named, of being held accountable, which transforms people, and objects, into different shapes. Performers, chairs, a bed, carpet, duvet and table, all dressed in blue, substituted and merged with one another, as if concocting a never-ending conjuring trick.

The performance was derived from the permutations and combinations possible in the exits and entrances of the six performers. These appear as forms of death and birth, which were joined together into a single narrative that papered over the cracks of a fragmented universe. Like a Dali painting, the performance presented a smooth and coherent surface to a collection of deliberately disparate elements, which taken together assumed the mantle of a bedroom farce gone horribly wrong.

Press Reviews
"Reverie in the viewer is not a state Station House Opera induce or want to induce. What they have created for themselves, to return to Freud, is a theatre of psychopathology (they call it 'behavioural expressionism') which is as compelling as it is confusing. The viewer is like the visitor to the madhouse - disturbed, humoured, but occasionally pulled up short by moments of strange beauty and truthfulness."
John Roberts, Performance Magazine

"In this satirical ambience even the blue furnishings become aroused by the goings on; a bed becomes tumescent, a carpet rolls up into a towering phallus or wilts in the after throes of a sort of coitus of interiors. Finally a pillar of carpet unfurls behind the erect bed, and an illusion of anti-gravity is achieved, as if the audience were floating above a bedroom; perhaps reminding us of how nice it can be to float away into a dream after making love."
Anthony Howell, Artscribe

"Flu would be too good for them but, tempting though it is, the line probably ought to be drawn at AIDS. ... They are to be avoided like the plague."
Charles Spencer, The Stage

Past performances

The British Art Show - Edinburgh, Theatre Workshop; Sheffield, The Leadmill; Southampton,
Nuffield Theatre; Birmingham, City Museum
Nottingham, Midland Group
Exeter, Spacex Gallery
London, Goldsmith's College
London, Middlesex Polytechnic
Cwmbran, Llanfrechfa Grange Hospital
London, Whittington Hospital
London, Bloomsbury Theatre
London, Air Gallery

Utrecht, Centrum t'Hoogt
Eindhoven, Stadsschouwburg / Het Apollohuis
Eindhoven, Katholieke Sociale Akademie
Rotterdam, De Lantaren
Brussels, Palais voor Schone Kunsten / Vrije Universiteit
Paris, Theatre d'en Face
Lyon, Symposium International d'Art-Performance

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Past performances