Theatre review: Neighbourhood Forum, Govan

Neighbourhood Forum

Neighbourhood Forum

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TWO weeks ago, the big side room at the Pearce Institute was transformed into a modern Catholic church, for Martin O’Connor’s memorable Theology.

Neighbourhood Forum - Pearce Institute, Govan

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Last week, though – in the final few days of this year’s Arches Behaviour Festival – the same space became a community meeting room, full of circles of chairs. There were pens, pieces of paper, instructions on cards; and there were performance artists Gary Gardiner and Murray Wason, leading the session, inviting us to share our thoughts about officialdom, and how powerless we feel in the face of bueaucracy, both public and private.

So we introduced ourselves, shared stories, formed one big circle to share them further, and watched Gary and Murray transform some of the classic gestures of those driven nuts by officialdom into a telling, beautifully shaped piece of dance. And in a strange, moving moment, we watched some old film of Govan as it was, in the days when poverty was fierce, but community was strong, and officials could not hide behind layer upon layer of failed electronic communication.

It was a gentle hour or so, in other words, convivial, thoughtful, low-pressure. Yet it left behind plenty of powerful questions about the isolated modern consumer, about how alone we often feel in confronting companies or institutions; and also about the increasingly powerful interface between community politics and the arts, in a world where conventional politics often fails the most vulnerable, and communities have to find new ways to come together, to share their problems, and to act.

Seen on 30.04.14

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