We start outside. A group of performers greet us, and smile. My arm is taken by the effervescent Toritseju Danner and she guides me to her childhood utopia. We go around the back of the steel box theatre and sit under a gazebo. She holds a Barbie in a plastic bag and she tells me that I am now her. I’m in her home and her mother is making stew; I can smell it coming from the kitchen. Tori then says that she doesn’t feel beautiful and says that she, we, take bleaching soap and rub it on her, our, skin. As a white woman, I will never understand this feeling, emotion, memory. I felt immense gratitude to be let into her world for a short moment. It was devastating. Each audience member was escorted by a performer and told a story. We hear a glimpse of those stories in the show itself, but it is only a sliver of a moment.
Then the show begins and the performers have moved into a boxing ring. Green tape lines the walls and floors. This show asks what America is via a multimedia whirlwind. I have never seen a piece of art which so encapsulates our modern condition, in particular, the American modern condition. A white American family from New York sat in the front row. I wonder what they think of it. I have spent a fair amount of my late teens in America and it is an isolated body. A body of greed, fat from the money stuffed in his pockets. But I believe it can also be a body of sweat and love if we let it. There is a long way to go but perhaps we may be able to see a better utopia.
The End is a revolution of hope and love and fear and bodies.
The show was difficult to watch and twisted in ways that were uncomfortable. It repeated itself. It didn’t let us understand all of the words. It didn’t let us understand all of the metaphors.
Resistant art often feels like it contorts itself to move out of the shapes the system has made for it. The End did that. It didn’t conform. It created a show which did none of the things it was supposed to, and therefore made a show in which the performers could exist and live. Of course, it wasn’t perfect and there were moments I would have changed but it wasn’t my show. It wasn’t my place to make those changes and I would never try to.
I have found it hard to fully digest my love and connection to this piece.
I’ve made some lists instead.
Things I Loved:
- The microphone and small speaker
- The purple jumpsuit
- The trampoline (AMAZING)
- Flip cards
- B. Ehst’s boots. Yes.
- The Teddy Bear's voice
Performers I Loved (in no particular order):
- Toritseju Danner
- B. Ehst
- Gabriel Jimenez
- Jinglin Liao
- Tyler Riggin
- Henita Telo
- Carolina Ignacia Vargas Romero
Moments I Loved:
- Conversations with the mothers
- Flip card advertisements
- American isms
- Crawling under the tape
- Being under the gazebo and on your balcony
- The projection of play text
- Descriptions of the audience with the microphone
- The Teddy Bear
See THE END THE END THE END @ Venue 13, 5.30, 4th-28th August