This Is How We Die
Returning to Battersea Arts Centre after an acclaimed run in Edinburgh and a tour of small UK arts venues, Christopher Brett Bailey’s intense monologue This Is How We Die considers the iPhone-powered, pastel-coloured, capitalist world we live in then tears it to shreds. The piece is simply staged: Bailey sits down at a desk under a spotlight and swings the microphone in front of his mouth. He shuffles his stack of papers like a newsreader but instead of a gentle “good evening and welcome to the six o’clock news”, his voice erupts into a stream of words that’s actually more like white water rapids. It’s like Ginsberg’s Howl crossed with Beckett’s Not I and supercharged for the 21st century.
Bailey shares his innermost thoughts, philosophies, day-to-day observations and darkest dreams. The piece gets stranger and stranger but the pace never lets up; he speeds through words a mile a minute. This Is How We Die is many things, but it is primarily an exploration of the power and beauty of language and a cynical probing of its meaninglessness and its ugly bits. Mind-blowing is an overused adjective but Christopher Brett Bailey’s sharp and hypnotic This Is How We Die really does blast the grey matter to smithereens.
When he reaches the end of his stack of papers, Bailey stops and disappears into the blackness behind the desk. A crescendo of bone-shaking basslines and electric violins builds and blinding lights dazzle the audience. The noise reaches maximum decibels but somehow keeps going and it’s no exaggeration to call it a beatific moment. Powered by Bailey’s charisma, This Is How We Die is an incredibly original performance with a savvy script. By the spectacular climax, the audience is sucked in by the light and sound, feeling everything but thinking nothing; it’s probably a lot like dying.
This Is How We Die is on at Battersea Arts Centre from 2nd June until 20th June 2015, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch a clip of the show here:
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