Tuesday, March 1st, 2016...11:51 am

Dreams Winter – Forced Entertainment.

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For the research project I decided to look further into Forced Entertainment’s piece Dreams Winter, originally performed from the 15th to the 20th of July 1994 in the Manchester Central Library. The piece was devised as a site specific performance for the Library, an interview with Tim Etchells by the Independent sheds more light on his inspiration for the piece.

‘A library is where lovers meet and where spies exchange information,’ says Tim Etchells, the company’s writer and director: ‘We were drawn to the idea of animating the stories and secrets contained in all the books, as well as conjuring the ghosts of past library users, invoking the voices of authors and characters, as well as readers. There are lots of stimulating contradictions: it’s full of voice yet you’re supposed to be silent; a reader sits in one place yet this consciousness travels unfettered . . .’



We can see that Etchells was clearly influenced by the vast collection of novels and the plethora of knowledge that resided in the space the performance was designed to occupy. Etchells mentions the readers too, and with this in mind I believe the audience are incorporated in to the performance. The spectators are real people in the library, and the actors can be seen as a surreal and corporeal version of the spectators, their minds active and wandering around the library whilst they remain in their seats inactive. We see the actors for the piece performing bizarre actions such as climbing on to the bookshelves and up the walls. Even more bizarre than that we also see that “at Etchells signal they rifle the shelves, seize hefty tomes, hammer them down upon the tables and rip out the pages.”

The Manchester Central Library boasts truly outstanding architecture, similar in style to the pantheon of Rome. Although beautiful from the exterior with the many giant columns granting a sense of majesty to the Library, the architecture really came in useful for Forced Entertainment when it came to the interior of the building. Aside from the grand columns the Library is also well known for the great dome that makes up the majority of the structure. The architectural bonus of the dome in terms of the performance is that it “causes echoes to travel in specific and surprising directions”according to Etchells, which would have created a great percussive echoing during the section of the show “Panic!” The section I mentioned previously in which the actors aggressively slam the books on the tables.




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