The private lives of others are always just that to me, private, its not for me, especially in public, I’m anxious to conceal my interest, even though I am interested (you know you are too). To glimpse into life as it is, we do it all the time, by nature we look, absorb, process, respond.
I had a beautiful fill of voyeurism last Thursday night, complete without guilt or nervous embarrassment at giving my rapt attention to the private lives of others.
I went to see Do no disturb, a site specific theatre performance devised by Louise Lowe and preformed by the Gaiety school of acting, at the Georges Fredrick Handle hotel on Fishamble street. A play inside a hotel? I didn’t really know what to expect. A disinterested hotel cleaner chose me and two other people from the hotel bar, brought us up to the fourth floor after she paused to call her mam on the phone, and proceeded to show us into a dark hotel room.
Immediately thrown into the deep end as two bodies finished up enjoying each other in bed in the darkened room. I had to quickly break the seal of discomfort faced so close with such intimate subject matter. Lights, music, kissing, loving mummers, requests, followed by arguments, fights, shouting, all less than a metre from me as I sat in a corner of the room watching it all unfold.
As the characters vacated the room others would seamlessly take their place and another equally intense but contrasting scene would occur. Four in total all varied in content from lovers, to family conflicts, a hotel cleaning maid basking is escapism and a depressed bride.
The actors from the Gaiety school were incredible, preforming such intense work at such scrutiny of their audience without the slightest hesitation. They crafted worlds that each escalated to tabloid headlines and yet maintained a believability. The scenes mostly preformed in pairs saw a keen attention to detail and realism to their relationships.
The voyeurism of this type of theatre is unquestionable. The proximity of the actors and the luck of where you sit in room determines how the performance is framed in the viewers eyes. From my vantage point at times I could watch characters pause in complementation in the bathroom mirror, an image blocked from the other side of the room, while other spectators were loomed over by characters as they boiled the hotel room kettle. Ultimately it felt more intimate like cinema rather than the theatre I’m used to.
Definitely to be repeated.