And The Rest Of Me Floats
Devised by the company
Rose Lipman Building
From 12 September 2017 to 23 September 2017
Review by Keith Mckenna
“Did you see me?” asks a performer looking directly at the audience.
Others at different times also ask that question in Outbox Theatre’s devised show And The Rest Of Me Floats.
Being visible isn’t simply a matter of being seen, since the way most of us see people is shaped by fairly fixed notions of gender that ignores the real variation in gender identity and gender expression. Even those who are not comfortable fitting into conventional gender categories are under pressure to perceive others and themselves in a narrow way.
The world can make you feel very awkward about that. As one character confesses, “I feel unhappy in my body.”
The show has no single story. There are very interesting snippets of different stories, but most of the show works visually.
Coral Messam choreographs various striking scenes around the simple act of an individual walking perhaps alone or maybe with others in formation.
Even as they walk, a relentless series of gender related question are sometimes asked over loud speakers.
At times, they restlessly search for clothes that feel right, and mostly they don’t feel right and are discarded. Occasionally a performer is blocked or caught in a long plastic sheet.
Dominic Kennedy’s rhythmic sound design gives a fierce intensity to the action, while Jess Bernberg’s lighting emphasises its generally sombre mood.
The stories are told with a light touch conversationally as if they are simply an odd memory but their significance can be immense.
A performer (Yasmin Zadeh) describes how as a child for a period she had successfully claimed to local lads that she was the boy Max, and then reflects that she has spent the last seventeen years moving back to Max.
Barry tells us that as a child he was trying on his sister’s communion dress when the phone rang. Since his dad was in a meeting, he answered the phone. His Dad seeing Barry in the dress tried to tell the meeting they were seeing his daughter.
A couple of the stories are highly poetic. All are engaging. One demonstrates humour in the face of prejudice by the swift response to a woman on a bus pulling her child away from possible contact.
“Bitch. What do you think he’s going to catch? Style?”
Nothing terrible happens in the show, and plenty that is positive, from a performer’s claim to feeling liberated by the Internet to the exuberant dance of the entire cast which audience members are encouraged to join.