overspill 2007- Spill Feast in association with New work Network

I’m happy to report I had a great time at last nights Feast and, contrary to my initial worry, there were no irregular or performative interventions hidden amongst unsuspecting diners’ food. It was simply good old fashioned eating and drinking on a 50ft long banqueting table on-stage in Toynbee Studios’ Theatre.

Given that eating was the central act of the evening, I feel compelled to tell you what we actually ate: the Feast’s main course was a selection of fresh, homemade Mediterranean style food including chickpea and olive salad, couscous, vegetable flatbreads, grilled chicken breasts and fresh salmon rolls with tartar sauce, amongst others. For dessert there were large slices of chocolate gateaux, strawberry cheesecake and fruit. There was also a complimentary after-dinner drink of Cognac and Baileys. (Yum) For those of you who are yet to dine with SPILL it was well worth the money.

Despite live art circles being quite tight- this not necessarily through any want of being a clique or niche but perhaps more to do with how Live and performance work is classified, (under) funded and publicised- there were lots of new faces and friends to be made at Feast. I sat down inbetween Charlie Fox (artist and producer) and visual artist Marcel Berlanger (co-collaborator with sister Francoise Berlanger of ‘Penthesilea’). Conversation flowed freely, but had it not, there were small conversational prompts made available by our artist-hostesses. These were printed cards with questions such as ‘What is the longest durational performance you have ever seen?’ or ‘What is most important or exciting thing about Live Art for you?’

Aside from the cards, the other overt reference to this event being different to an archetypal 'feast' was that prior to entering the theatre-cum-dining-room every guest was given a single rose: white for SPILL artists, red for everyone else. The significance of marking us this way was to enable people to make connections and put artists’ names to faces. Such touches reference the fact that although Feast is not staged as a performance per se it is , of course, knowingly and carefully scripted for maximum effect within the context of the SPILL Festival.

The SPILL and New Work Network recipe for Feast is a simple and effective one, designed to deliver the real business of the evening. The aim is to stage a space for informal debate, to create a community and to break down the boundary between performer and audience whilst simultaneously introducing new people to the genre via cheap and tasty food. It also gives artists the all too rare chance to meet and socialise properly with their public and as such Feast is an important addition to the festival programme.

Rachel Lois

No comments:

Post a Comment