Tim Etchells & Aisha Orazbayeva: Seeping Through

Forced Entertainment spark a debate about the art of performance itself

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 22 Aug 2015

At four hours, Seeping Through is a breezy watch compared to Forced Entertainment's 24-hour-long show, Quizoola!. Novella-sized by contrast, Seeping Through is an intense and encapsulating improvised text-based performance by FE Artistic Director Tim Etchells, accompanied by Orazbayeva's experimental violin playing.

Pacing the room in jeans and a t shirt, Etchells delivers a never-ending dialogue in the parts of the show we see (it is suggested we take tea breaks and see the show in sections), pausing his verbal acrobatics only rarely to sit down or drink water. The show comprises segments of improvised dialogue, spoken in streams of consciousness, as well as parts read directly from Etchells' supply of prompts: piles of index cards, A4 sheets of paper and an assortment of folders.

Partially lifted from earlier work (Etchells' monologue Erasure features), the sentences spoken can't be taken at stand-alone value. They are more often than not connected by, at best, obscure links. Yet as small parts of a whole the wordplay creates a startling sense of the human psyche. The addition of Orazbayeva's abstract musical noodlings and Etchells' look—always in deep thought—make the performance feel urgent. The texts spring restlessly from pillar to post, sometimes casting opinions on socio-political issues, or alluding to personal plans or inward thoughts.

Etchells' delivery is a marvel to see – that much of this is improvised is astonishing. The purpose of the piece, really, seems to be to spark a debate about the art of performance itself. At one point, during moments of looping dialogue, Etchells tells us: "I am taking my time".

Tim Etchells & Aisha Orazbayeva: Seeping Through: Run ended