Dead Cats

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Dead Cats is political theatre which is intelligent and provocative with a sprinkling of humour and charm. Performed by Rachel Baynton and Gillian Lees, and written by Andrew Westerside.

The scene is a clean room, like a small meeting room, two people are preparing for an enquiry. One is going to be interviewed and the other is helping by role playing, working out what words are best to use, what lies need to be averted….

The actors move the furniture around the stage after each scene and create another, similar room and carry on with the performance. This is visually explaining these conversations which probably go on, are in rooms like this: clean meeting rooms. With a plant.

As the play continues and the questions get deeper, we, the audience work out how true to life this is becoming. How words and phrases are used by the Government to ease the impact of their words, to downplay the lies, to smooth out the wrongdoings, to avoid admitting the corruption. They are changing the impact of words – they are cleaning them up:

Homophobia – traditional family values
Homeless – temporary unhoused
Bankrupt – negative cash flow
Fraud – white collar misunderstanding

It’s not a straight linear play, they re-set, move furniture and have different scenes for the long arc. The funniest scene was the quizzing of minister relationships and the names had been redacted from the official document – each redaction was replaced with a party blower. This was funny and added to the whole nonsense of what goes on behind these close doors.

There is also good use of a big screen at the back of the stage to enhance what’s being performed.

Although we know this type of thing goes on, to watch it in this format, so focussed on the matter, it hits home far more than switching on the news. The level of corruption and minister-linked corporate relationships become shocking.

This is worth going to see, just to have your eyes opened that little bit more.

Dead Cats is the third contemporary theatre work in Proto-type’s critically acclaimed Truth to Power Project – a socially engaging exploration of power, democracy, truth telling, protest, privacy, conspiracy and control.

Read my interview with Andrew Westerside here.

For tour dates and more about Proto Type, click here.

Photo Credit: Proto-type Theatre and Adam York Gregory & Ingo Solms.



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