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Flesh and blood-y boring

Sean Goodwin is not a fan of “performance art bingo”.

Julia Robertson in Lihaa Ja Verta. Image supplied. Julia Robertson in <i>Lihaa Ja Verta</i>. Image supplied.

Lihaa ja verta (or flesh and blood) is, to put it bluntly, a fairly pretentious attempt at high performance art, presented by SUDS and The Little Eggs Collective. Obviously this was to be expected, considering the play’s nonsensically Finnish title and its self-description as “a multi-sensory experience that offers a dialogue between human and machine, a visceral exploration of what it is to feel”. However, even accounting for these characteristics, the play was quite boring.

The set was something like the bathroom of a minimalist doll-house; a transparent cube containing a bath, a robotic arm and the performer herself (Julia Robertson), prompting one to wonder if the show’s producers wanted the audience to play “performance art bingo”.

Perhaps the one-woman show might have worked as a walk-by performance art installation in a contemporary exhibition, but, even at just 40 minutes long, it was definitely indulgent. The time crept by as the performer emerged from the bath, interacted with the robotic arm and moved around the space to abstract music, often either repetitively or at an infinitesimally slow pace.

The only relief was the ending, which was simply the performer getting down to some feel good pop music. Although, it did somewhat feel like when they play pop music in the credits of a mediocre movie to try and trick you into thinking that you’ve had a good time.

As we left the theatre, the dominant response was confusion, which would have been the desired result if this had been Dada, but not ideal if Little Eggs genuinely intended to stage “a visceral exploration of what it is to feel”. In the end, I can’t help but think that it ended up being little more than a visceral exploration of what it is to feel bored.

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