Anatomy #7: Kill Your Traitor Heart @ Summerhall, 13 Dec
Organised by Harry Giles and Ali Maloney, and supported by Summerhall, Anatomy #7: Kill Your Traitor Heart is part of a series of evenings held once a month in which experimental performance groups of all disciplines are able to showcase their work. This evening is loosely based around the idea of Love; what it means, and how it can be explored in a performance space.
“If there is an emergency and you are struggling to escape, do first take a moment to look deep into your souls and ask yourselves the question, was this worth it?” organiser and compère Harry Giles quips with his audience as we begin an evening of six varying independent pieces. Funny guy, Giles. He’s visibly proud of what he and Maloney have created, and so he should be. How can the arts evolve without a platform from which to experiment? Unfortunately however, on the strength of many of tonight's performances, it would not have been worth it.
Much of the evening is ill considered. Inside Gwendolyn appears to be an opportunity for performer Carolyn Wood to indulge herself in that old cliché, the split personality. It is essentially shouting, intense crouching and spit, compensated for by a free muffin. Baffling. Aleksandra Roch’s When I Meet U warps the tone of the evening with a piece that involves herself and another female performer ripping each others ‘bunny’ onesies off and demanding massages from the men in the audience. Women around me shake their heads. This goes on for about twenty minutes, before Roch decides: “It’s over now, I think,” and they shuffle off, tails somewhere between their legs.
Setting that aside, Giles and Maloney have gathered a supportive audience who certainly seem to be engaged for the most part of the evening. And for me there are distinct moments of magic; Mo-seph’s arrestingly tribal bass beat in AZIFAZIFAZIF is intriguingly meditative accompanied by performer Harlequinade’s animalistic chant, and the shot of two bodies breathing together in Roberta Orlando’s As we use to be presents a beautifully unembellished image of intimacy. However, in order for experimental theatre to have a chance of audience investment, the artists producing that work must protect its dignity. This evening, largely, that doesn’t happen, and as a result, it feels a like wasted time.
“What is Love?” Giles asks us at the end of the evening.
“Squat thrusts” replies a member of the audience. Make of that what you will.