Brief encounter with… Louise HartDate: 18 May 2012
Your street installation in Stockholm last summer was stopped by the police; Why? Well the piece was an adaptation of two of Samuel Beckett’s Novellas, both dealt with themes of lost love and the aging body. So I, and another cast member, laid out nude in the main square in Stockholm City Centre, inviting passers-by to write a memory on our bare skin. We had some amazing pieces written and drawn on us in a number of different languages.
However, some people found the nudity inappropriate in such a public space and, despite the number of people enjoying the performance, the voices of those outraged by the sight of a human body grew louder. They caused quite the kerfuffle, leading to us being led away by five policemen covering us with their jackets. We were banned from performing on the streets of Stockholm again!
Do you think this kind of reaction was exclusive to a Swedish audience?
I think in a street environment this reaction is quite common, we all seem to have a big hang-up over the natural human form. I find this strange when we are so accepting of the constant bombardment of sexualised imagery relating to the body. However, within theatre and art circles I think that nudity has not been shocking for a very long time and in fact it can often be hard to find what will shock audiences nowadays.
Should audiences prepare for some nudity from you at this year's Brighton Fringe?
Ha-ha, not this time. We’re not all about the nudity, although it does sometimes feel that way! The piece we are doing for the Brighton Fringe, In My Shoes, is audio only, although we couldn’t resist some mild nudity in the advertising.
Audio only, that sounds interesting, tell us more!
Audiences can find us at The Big Red Van parked up at the Old Steine in Brighton. The idea is to come and collect a map of the route and your download of six audio tracks from us. We will put it on to your mp3 player or give you a link to listen to it through your smart phone. Alternatively you can leave a deposit and take away one of our mp3 players. Each track on the download corresponds with a section of the walk. So you can explore Brighton whilst listening to the innermost thoughts of six different characters walking the same streets as you.
In My Shoes is by Post-It-Productions, how did you get involved with them?
There are three of us in Post-It-Productions and we have worked together for many years on a variety of projects. We were all keen to develop a new piece of writing for this year’s Brighton Fringe, and have done a lot of work collectively around mental health issues. This was our starting point for In My Shoes.
We each have first hand experience of mental health issues and feel that, despite a lot of great work being done, there is still a certain amount of stigma attached to psychiatric illness. We wanted to create something that shows that mental illness can and does affect anyone in any place at any time in a number of different ways. For these reasons we felt it appropriate to donate all profits from this production to mental health charities.
In My Shoes is a walking performance which starts at The Big Red Van, The Old Steine, Brighton on 14 – 27 May at any time from 12.00pm – 6.00pm daily