What Have You Done To Me?

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

04/03/2011 - 12/03/2011

Auckland Fringe 2011

Production Details

Beautiful, sweaty and obsessive!  

Future Hotel presents What Have You Done To Me? – A modern cabaret of obsessions created by «GreetingLine» in visual collaboration with Stephen Bain. 

If your obsession could talk to you, what would it say? And which restaurant would you take it to?

What Have You Done To Me? is an attraction filled, destructive romp through the wasteland of obsessive minds stuck in a rut. Performed by Nisha Madhan (The House of Bernarda Alba, Shortland Street) this beautiful sweaty performance will take the obsessive cycle as far as it goes and turn it into a triangle. 

What Have You Done to Me? uses energetic performance and stories from the obsessions in people’s everyday lives to create an infectious world of truth and lies. Drawing inspiration by the work of French photographer Sophie Calle, recognized for her detective-like ability to follow strangers and investigate their private lives, the show is a collection of visually bold responses to the four stages of obsessive love: attraction, anxiety, obsession and destruction. 

What Have You Done To Me? was born and raised in Brussels 2010 by «GreetingLine» (The House of Bernarda Alba, Burlesque: As You Like It, Shortland Street) with help from designer and director Stephen Bain (The Trial, The Arsehole, Stories Told To Me By Girls).

Nisha has been a professional actress and theatre producer for eight years. After a significant stint on Shortland Street she has become known as something of a multiple artisitic personality, performing in everything from classical and burlesque theatre to playing piano for funk afro-soul band The Hot Grits and an experimental music collective. 

Her experiences living in Paris attending Phillipe Gaulier’s clown school in 2009, and in Brussels this year have been paramount to the making of this work. 

Stephen has produced and directed professional theatre in New Zealand since the early 90’s. He has a particular passion for theatre in the public space which has taken him around world with his street theatre installation, Baby Where Are the Fine Things You Promised Me? (visit www.wherearethefinethings.com )

In 2009 Nisha and Stephen created the theatre/art collective Future Hotel. Future Hotel made its debut at Christmas time in 2009 in Auckland with its sound exploration piece Beckett Says, a street theatre game in which members of the public were invited to interact with a script delivered to them through wireless headphones (visit www.beckettsaysperformance.blogspot.com ).

What Have You Done To Me?
The Basement Theatre 
March 4 & 5, Fri 8:30 pm, Sat 10pm and March 11 & 12, Fri 11pm, Sat 8.30pm


Even more information on the making of this show is available at www.obsessioninthestreets.blogspot.com   

Pathos from hilarious nonsense

Review by Stephen Austin 05th Mar 2011

The fire escape door of The Basement crashes open. A disembodied female voice naively observes exterior detail though a loud hailer. Nisha Madhan enters and observes the audience settling ourselves and makes arrangements of the space, points out the gorilla mask atop a mannequin draped in red clothing. 

Her fellow performer, Stephen Bain, soon enters, diverting our attention, his nervous energy infecting the stage for them both to begin. They start writing provocations on a blackboard to keep each other active and use this sequence essentially as warm up to the main material. 

As it turns out, this is relationship-as-performance-art, essentially being Madhan’s charting of her own obsession through solo monologue and surreal dreamscape. She is by turns charming, troubled, energetic, violent, seductive. At all times she is actively conscious of herself as central performer and works hard to shine though each moment. 

Bain is there as support, but as the object of her attraction adds a level of extra validation to the performance. Bain is acutely aware of his role as second fiddle and this is the main awkward conflict of the piece. His cloud-headed, stumbling, muttering clown turns out to be a great metaphor for that –threatening at times to steal focus from Madhan.

The production attempts to challenge the triangular bond between performers and audience in some small way and mostly succeeds. At times the work seems disjointed with non-sequitur dialogue and images, thoughts and props being used for any and every purpose imaginable. 

By the end, however, we have an emotional payoff that, while not 100% convincing in its immediacy, makes much of the nonsense coalesce into satisfying pathos. It’s hilariously entertaining too!

This review kindly supported by The James Wallace Arts Trust http://www.wallaceartstrust.org.nz/

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