11 November 2018

Review: The Infirmary

Mere Mortals – a series of works exploring death and dying
Arts House

The Infirmary
Triage Live Art Collective
7 November 2018
Arts House
to 18 November

The Infirmary. Triage Live Art Collective. Photo by Bryony Jackson

Dying, dreaming and decaying.

The first week of Arts House's Mere Mortals series was far more relaxing than it sounds.

Live art is personal experience. The work cannot exist without your active participation and its meaning belongs only to you.

The Infirmary begins with a triage conversation between each patient (10 per session) and a doctor/artist. It ends dressed in a hospital gown in a hospital bed where you have no control and can hear the beeping of a heart rate monitor slow down...

Or, we all know that it's impossible to be in a hospital bed without a cup of tea and a biccy.

Let by creator Katerina Kokkinos-Kennedy (Hotel Obscura), this experience is an opportunity to get close to an ending or a death. While you're in a bed in the blindfolded dark, and listening to voices on headphones, the only option is trust. Complete trust: physically, mental and spiritual.

In a work about death and dying, the need to trust that the artists aren't going to scar or scare is as strong as the need to be physically safe as your bed is wheeled away from your private room where you know where you are, and where your glasses are...

As it confronts death, each experience may be too personal to share. But I left relaxed. So relaxed that I'd forgotten many of the voices I'd heard as I was immersed in a world of light and sound. And movement and touch and a theatrical reveal so glorious that I would have cheered were I not so happy to be bed bound, silent and unable to move.

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