Endurance Performance – It’s a way of life

One of the things I’ve always loved about Stan is that we’re not so much a theatre company as a group of people who perform life. That pompous sounding definition is the only way I can describe the chameleon roles I assume for the company.

Over the years, with more or less success I’ve been a long distance driver, bouncer, labourer, teacher trainer, film director, carpenter, cleaner and just occasionally actor. It’s a working and living existence that suits my easily bored nature as I try on different hats like an illegitimate son of Mr Ben.

No project requires this broad base of skills more than ‘Of All The People In All The World. The Art/Science/Anthropology/Performance/Mathematics/Poetry/Factory crossover that is intrinsic to the show seems to inevitably confuse audiences according to the context it’s presented in.

At Warwick Uni we were asked if it was a promotion selling rice to students; I’ve been told to stop tampering with the artwork like an errant cleaner, asked if I was a scientist, a statistitian, when the performance will start, when the exhibition will be ready, who’s doing this?

In the context of WomAdelaide Festival it felt like the political aspects of the show could lead us to being read as activists, eager like so many other of the acts to alert the audience to the plight of this or that people or some aspect of their own grief-stricken story. Hopefully what always saves the show from inducing some kind of compassion fatigue is a sense of humour. I think we managed to find that mix in our blood-boiling tent as some of the 5,700 people who came through walked carefully round, wide eyed, half crying, half laughing – a state which I seem to be permanently in while performing the show.

It was an intense weekend!

Jake Oldershaw

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