restricted access Certain Fragments: Contemporary Performance and Forced Entertainment by Tim Etchells (review)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews 517 son are asked about how they work together and the relation of their work to Wales (79, 83, 87); and the co-founder of Edinburgh's Communicado Theatre Company, Gerry Mulgrew, is asked about the relevance of Scotland to his work (105). On the other hand, the interviewers do not substantially explore the specificities of directing physical theatre with DV8 Physical Theatre artistic director Lloyd Newson, nor of directing movement and/or opera with Second Stride artistic director and sometime Caryl Churchill collaborator Ian Spink, nor of using the linguistic hybrid 'binglish' with Tara Arts director Jatinder Verma. The final methodological question I would have liked to see the authors of this collection address more explicitly is how they selected their interviewees. In many ways, the range of selection is good, encompassing directors from theatre-dense London but also from regional theatres and from Scotland, Wales, and Ireland; directors who do text-based work, but also those who do physical theatre, movement, and devised theatre; and directors representing some range of gender, ethnicity, and ability. Alongside the women directors already mentioned, Phyllida Lloyd, Julia Pascal, and Deborah Warner are also interviewed. However, more explicit commentary on methodological approach to selection and interviewing would have further helped to describe the work of these directors and the work of contemporary theatre practice in Britain more generally. As well, more explicit commentary on why directing is the focus of the book would have usefully addressed John Fox's challenge and contextualized Peter Brook's rather mystical and mystifying foreword. Of its kind, this is a useful book, both because it brings a particular, broad range of directors to consideration and because, in some respects, it indicates how this kind of book can provide insight into contemporary theatre practice more broadly. WORK ClTED Graeae Theatre Company. 13 July 2000. . TIM ETCHELLS. Certain Fragments: ContemporalY Pe,formance alld Forced Entertainmellt. London: Routledge, 1999ยท Pp. 228, illustrated. $37.99 (Pb). Reviewed by Andrew HOllstOl!, University ofRegina Tim Etchells is a writer, director, and artist based in Sheffield, England. He has written extensively on contemporary perfonnance, live art, and installation . He is probably best known, however, for the writing and artistic direction he has contributed to Forced Entertainment, a Sheffield theatre cooperative that for the past fifteen years has produced some of Britain's finest experimen- 5IS REVIEWS tal theatre. Certain Fragments features an impressive array of the many facets of Etchells's writing, including essays, performance texts, and reviews. While critical and theoretical tracts make up much of this book, Etchells's clear virtue as a writer is his ability to bring an inventive aesthetic sensibility to all his writing. Moreover, as the bulk of this book is informed by the performances of Forced Entertainment, Etchells also does a remarkable job of being a medium for the scraps, layers, quotations, and fragments of the intriguing creative process of his company. Forced Entertainment has developed an aesthetic out of juxtaposing realities . Here is a meeting of television's three-minute culture with a staging of poetic intensity and sophistication that takes full advantage of the risk and vulnerability found in the live encounter of theatre. Moving from theatres to gallery spaces, from the Manchester Central Library to a coach ride around Sheffield, Forced Entertainment has developed a dramaturgy that weaves a complex collage of historical and contemporary narratives with non-theatre sites and, often, popular and commercial imagery. Avoiding the conventional cynical distance often played out in theatre which explores the postmodern condition, Forced Entertainment creates an intriguing intimacy and kinship with the inert commercialized debris of our world. What is truly exciting about Certain Fragments is how its fragmented form offers an insight into the rhythms and patterns of Forced Entertainment's creative process. True to the rule of paradox that is a custom of this company, here we have crafted fragmentation. Etchells often captures a precise measure of open-ended processes, andthus this is ultimately a book that celebrates "the fine word 'compromise'" (55) and what this means to the collaborative process , where the bringing together of diverse creativities often gets one into an altogether messy world - of competing actions, approaches, and intentions...


pdf