The Story Of How We Came To Be Here ...
Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan make move from visual art to theatre
The Story Of How We Came To Be Here, What We Did Before We Got Here, How You Have Forgotten Why You Asked Us Here And Why We Cannot Remember Why We Came, Or: Is This What Brings Things Into Focus?
Every time Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan submit a funding application for their one-man show, they regret the title. With only 300 words to persuade a would-be grant-giver to part with some cash, they find themselves eating up 41 words on the name alone.
But still, The Story of how … isn’t called that for nothing. It reflects the show’s focus on the shaggy dog story and the idea of teasing audiences so they don’t know whether to drift off or pay attention.
‘It’s playing with an audience,’ says Tatham. ‘They might get bored, but it’s also funny, so they can’t completely relax.’
With a history of collaboration going back 15 years, Tatham and O’Sullivan are more commonly found on The List’s visual art pages. That this one is here in the theatre section is because the duo like playing with the rules of different artforms. In a gallery, spectators encounter art in their own time; here in the theatre, we expect actor Gareth Brierley, a People Show veteran, to keep us interested. But will he?
‘We wanted it to work as a piece of theatre and not just because we were using another form,’ says Tatham. ‘We are interested in making things that have a direct and effective function over audience. Sometimes that’s about visual pleasure, spectacle or entertainment; on another level it’s about hoping the audience will go away and think about the experience. So for us, theatre is an interesting way of continuing that enquiry.’
Tramway, Glasgow, Sat 11 Dec