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30 Years Forced Entertainment: the programme

They’ve done it all, from gibberish to neon sculptures, from playing dead to mischievous guided bus tours. Artistic Director Tim Etchells discusses the acclaimed performance collective's diverse anniversary programme at HAU theatres Oct 16-19.

The internationally acclaimed UK performance collective Forced Entertainment stops in Berlin to celebrate 30 years. Artistic director Tim Etchells walks us through their diverse anniversary programme.

Notebook, theatre performance based on Ágota Kristóf’s award-winning novel, Oct 16-17, 19:30, HAU2

“It’s only the second time that we’ve worked on an existing text. It is about two twins who are evacuated during WWII to the countryside in Hungary, where they are treated very badly. Interesting is that they narrate their story as if they don’t really have a separated identity, using all the time ‘we’: “we are in the garden, we sit down, we say…” It feels like they don’t want to admit that there are two of them. And they refer to the cruelty of the war with a dispassionate tone, telling only what happened, what they saw and what they did with a sort of neutrality and coldness of observation. In our two-hour performance, two people on stage do a version of the narration, speaking a lot in unison. It plays a lot with this impossible double act: they are the same person, they can’t be the same person.”

Speak Bitterness, improvised durational performance first created in 1994, Oct 18, 18:00, HAU2/live streamed on www.forcedentertainment.com 

“Speak Bitterness is a confession, a kind of catalogue of things that people might have done wrong, from the very big public crime – “we executed journalists” – to the smallest domestic thing – “I dropped a glass of red wine on the carpet.” Six performers are reading from sheets of paper, improvising the structure and the ways of reading, from being very sorry to yelling. For me as a writer, it is one of the most important projects – for the text I collect materials pretty much on a daily basis.”

A Broadcast/Looping Pieces, solo improvised text performance by and with Tim Etchells, Oct 16-17, 22:00, HAU3

“For 15 years, I’ve had a Word file on my computer which is basically my notebook. Everything that I wrote down there may be a fragment of an idea for something – a line from a movie, a tweet, a quotation from a newspaper, something my parents said to me on the phone… For this performance I began to work on tiny fragments of that, making loops. It’s poetic, it’s fragmented, in a way it’s quite a musical piece, it has to do with the rhythm of the language. It is about me in relation to this material that I collected.”

That Night Follows Day, workshop presentation, Oct 18-19, 17:00, HAU1

“It is a group of children that describe their relationship to the adult world, addressing it: “you wash us, you dress us, you tell us stories” – a list of statements about adults and the power that they have over children. I wrote it in 2007 and we toured a lot. In Berlin we will make a reading performance in German with local kids.”