Saturday, March 10, 2012

Deliverance at the Adelaide Fringe Festival is hardly "art"

In the past being an artist required some skill and hard work. Not these days. You just have to use some provocative angle or gimmick that gets you attention easily and call what you're doing art. Then, once you've offended, shocked, or titillated an audience you can bang on pompously about how you are challenging their prejudices, getting them to think anew .. that kind of nonsense.

Deliverance at the Adelaide Fringe Festival is an example of this faux art. Basically, three people with nothing better to do walk into Adelaide's Rymill Park starkers then depend upon the kindness of strangers for clothes, gifts, and food. The whole stupid, pointless exercize goes on for ten days.

They haven't written, prepared or rehearsed anything. They've just got that original "concept" (for want of a better word) and the gall to see it through -- not to mention all that free time to "perform" it in. And they're using the oldest trick in the book to get attention initially: public nudity. It's sooo easy.

I'll bet that many of the idiots who find such a silly stunt so searingly brilliant as art would sneer at pole dancing or stripping. And can you imagine these performance modes being included in the Fringe Festival program? Not on your Nelly!

Sure, they are hardly edifying. But they are actually closer to art since they involve the making of costumes (albeit ones that are discarded pretty soon!) and sometimes even a bit of choreography. They certainly require more skill, preparation and work than has gone into Deliverance.


  1. Well, it's Adelaide. So there's sure to be plenty of people willing to give them food, something to drink, and a nice resting place inside a barrel.

  2. Yeah, there is something creepy about the place. Well, if it becomes Snowtown all over again then the performers really will be "suffering for their art"!

  3. On the subject of bizarre performances, Matt, have you kept up with the story of Mike Daisey?

  4. I have heard something along the lines that he used some inaccurate information in his show about Apple, or something. Other than that, don't know much.

    Saw a bit of one of his monologues and thought it was pretty ho-hum. Couldn't see why people thought he was so great.

  5. Here's the retraction episode of This American Life.
    I saw another article online written by someone who worked with Daisey in the early days of the show. They mentioned that Daisey had insisted theatre staff hand out flyers after each show that emphasised it was a true story.

  6. Thanks for that link. I had a listen to the show. Fascinating stuff.

    Amazing to hear his excruciatingly long pauses during which he was trying to work out how to avoid admitting that he lied big time -- both to his theatre audiences and the journos on This American Life.

    He is truly one of the world's great asshats.