10 Jan

So, I’m in a small mushroom colored room at the Ramada Inn and Suites in Vancouver. It’s snowing heavily. It’s 4.30pm and tonight’s performance of Quizoola happens at 6pm. It’s one of Forced Entertainment’s “durational performances” That means audience can come and go at any time, which is just as well because jet-lag and the blizzard may make for an early pumpkin hor.

I first saw this performance in Novi Sad, Serbia, in 2000 as part of an international theatre festival, while visiting Belgrade-based Dah Teatar. That was nearly seven years ago, Milosevic had just been extradited (what a word!) to the Hague and the ruins of war were still in everyone’s nostrils. ATMs weren’t working. The Festival had a lot of the “third theatre” — Barba/ Grotowski influenced highly visual, poetic, physical theatre. Quizoola was both a shock and a relief, amidst these highly sculpted collaboratively made works.

Three grimy English clowns in ordinary clothes and bad make-up sat in a cellar (which had particular resonance in that moment and place), a place like a bomb-shelter, and took turns in asking one another questions, which ranged from the grand to the absurd to the personal to the whimsical. I won’t say more about it now, but I was completely charmed and irritated— a combination I’ve never felt at quite the same time before, except perhaps around very, very small dogs. (Just kidding, Maisie).

— Ah, a knock at the door… a nice man arrived with a kettle for my survival requirement: tea. More soon on Quizoola.


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