Drunken Madness (1981 - 1986)

Photo: Rob White Photo: Station House Opera
Photo: Station House Opera Photo: Rob White
Photo: Patrick Keiller

Drunken Madness presented the audience with the spectacle of tables and chairs suspended by wires, one above the other. Performers were seated at the tables, two others were in harnesses and counterweighted against each other: as one rose the other fell. So long as those seated remained still, the column remained stable, but as soon as one moved, the shifting weight tipped the table over, threw it out of line. This was a self-contained world hanging within another, more randomly composed one: a dirty abattoir, a bridge anchorage. At rest it was an immensely simple apparatus, obvious and incomprehensible; in motion it could be terrifying, producing real dangers for its inhabitants. As part of its functioning, bottles of drink were distributed and consumed, the ensuing drunkenness throwing the balanced mechanism into chaos.

Excerpt from Performance Magazine
"It is a system of arbitrary connectedness (push/pull), a system of checks and balances, representing a nightmare state of psychic experience in which everything has its corollary, its opposite number, its double. ... Anxiety fuels the pleasure of watching this dangerous machine. The sudden appearance, on wires, of a hanging chair, jacket, tray of glasses, substantiates the implicit threat of slipping. The sadism and masochism of vertical limitation is clear, extending into the language of sheer aggression and murderous reconciliation shared by the two men, the powerlessness of the two waiters, hanging, harnessed, the fearful significance of weights falling from a great height ... The performance affords the spectator the exquisite pleasure of watching dream process consciously, allowing the shift, the sudden dis/appearance of meaning."

Leslie Dick
Performance Magazine

Bibliography

Review: Drunken Madness
01 Oct 1981
Published in Performance Magazine No 15

Project menu

Past performances
Bibliography