Real Magic

Things I am thinking about Real Magic from Forced Entertainment at HOME as I sit in the bath afterwards:

The use of repetition in theatre – in this case the endless repetition of a short scene involving the guessing of one of three words that one of the three performers is thinking – can work.  For example, in Forced Entertainment’s brilliant Tomorrow’s Parties where two people envisage infinite possible futures, which was a hugely engaging performance.  This, on the other hand, uses repetition to create a sense of, a sense of, a sense of a loop, that cannot be broken, however much we and the performers might will this.

This performance is half an hour too long and devoid of ad breaks.  It gets to the point where both the performers and the audience want it to end.  This is a fascinating technique because at the same time we are bored by the performance and yet still engaged, watching the minute changes within each delivery, interested to see how this is going to end.  I suppose it’s like watching Big Brother.

I was on the Weakest Link once and I was surprised that the audition process paid little attention to how good you were at answering questions, and that over half the interview related to the part at the end where you describe your feelings about how well you did; that’s exactly the feeling I got here.  Certainly in this show the contestant’s ability to answer the question was irrelevant to most of the performance, that it was the interaction of the contestant, the presenter and the assistant that created the atmosphere, yes, created the atmosphere.

One of the purposes of repetition is to show how ridiculous is something that we take for granted.  What appears initially as an interesting premise – guessing the word that someone is thinking – gradually fades throughout the show and becomes, becomes, irrelevant, yes, yes, it becomes irrelevant.  We search for other meanings in what we see in front of us.  We investigate gestures, tone of voice, pose.

I still have no idea why the performers wore chicken costumes, indeed only one of them ever used the head, and when he wore the head he couldn’t read the writing on a piece of cardboard that he held up.  I suppose there was a dance in-between some of the games and perhaps that’s what the chicken outfits were meant to be for.

HOME, Manchester 29 Nov – 1 Dec 2017 details here.



Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.