Saturday, June 6, 2015


This is an actress. This is a piece of theatre. This is not real. It's a performance.

So I had to keep telling myself during DivanOccidentaleOrientale's IVETOTELLUSOMETHING, a piece of microtheatre in a bathroom, on this occasion executed by Italian actress Rosa Palasciano. The performance, so says the sprawling description, speaks of a crisis, failure, or precarity. These are common themes for artists today as they try grapple with an increasingly shallow and difficult world, at once moving too quickly for tragedy, not quickly enough for comedy. The search is for some genuine, authentic connection, and the fear is that the days in which that might be possible have now passed.

Photo: Merima Salkić

The performance is in a bathroom, and for one person only. So there's a lot of standing around waiting whilst Rosa - adorned in coat tails and a pencil moustache - grandly sweeps out of the bathroom to semi-seductively select her next victim, and plenty of time to imagine what the hell is going on in there. Yet more intrigue when you see the faces of the post-ops, grimacing or strained with discomfort. Still, of course when it came, it surprised me. I don't know if it was the awkwardness of the encounter, the manufactured nature of it, the feeling that I should feel something. After putting on the headphones, I am suddenly conscious that I am standing in a bathroom with a stranger, who is manipulating my movements, staring at me expectantly.