Random Scream, Brussels, BELGIUM
Directed by Davis Freeman
Will you promise not to eat meat for a month? Or to spend 10 euros in weekly groceries at your local farmers’ market?
Each day, 200 000 new hungry mouths are born on Earth. To be sure, the planet’s got it pretty darn hard with us. Now is the time to become ecologically conscious! Accompanied by the familiar sounds of a church organ, ‘environmental preachers’ Davis Freeman and Herry Killick exhort us to take 7 ecological vows that may hold the power to save our planet. And for each promise, we earn a shot of vodka! This late night two-man show can turn into a proper festival party, but with a strong ethical message nonetheless.
Accompanied by the song of a synth organ, ‘environmental preachers’ Davis Freeman and Jerry Killick invite us to make seven ecological vows that may hold the power to save our planet. For each vow, we earn a shot of vodka! 7 Promises promises a good deal of fun, a proper festival party – and more. Under the guise of a ‘two men show’ inspired by stand-up comedy, TEDx talks, and the expressive rites of new-age evangelical churches, the duo of American-Belgian performers will give us a good thrashing of the conscience. By a provocative combination of an apparently light-hearted, amusing form and a serious and complex theme, they speak to our ecological sense more urgently than any scholarly article or documentary film ever could. To incite us into reflection about ways to behave more ethically and ecologically, they pose us questions and challenges, such as whether we can abstain from meat for a week, or if we are willing to promise not to have children. Will you swear to spend 10 euros in weekly groceries at your local farmers’ market? Here, humour is the key to the entire performance. It allows the creators to reach out to their audience, in a way that enables the theme to touch and resonate with them. Their collective experience mediated by humour is intended to incite the spectator to reconsider his or her attitude to their surroundings and themselves, toward a change of their unecological habits, even though it is clear to both the artists and the audience that a single theatre show cannot save planet Earth. But this ‘problem’, too, is not haphazard – Davis Freeman systematically explores the potential of theatricality in his projects, and asks how strongly contemporary art (not merely of the theatrical sort, as his conceptual show Karaoke saw him collaborate on videoart with world-renowned visual artists) can contribute to positive change in social conditions. In order that this be at least partly possible, Freeman opts for humour as his means of communication. However, it is no entertainment for its own sake, the performers’ humour is not self-serving, instead through it they attempt to poke the spectator in his soft spot, lead him deeper into the issue, to mull it over and perhaps feel it after a couple servings of liquor. Freeman, in his own words, wants to provoke the spectator through his performances into standing up for himself, his beliefs and taking a certain moral stand. He wants the audience to think if they agree with something or not, to think if they had just laughed at something they should not be laughing at according to their own convictions. In 7 Promises, like in other of his performances, Freeman also probes the relationship between performer and audience. Laughter and humour serve him an indicator that the audience and performers have connected, that genuine communication has been established. Freeman is fond of pushing his explorations (not just of communication and the stage-audience relation) to the limit – his provocations, as he confesses, sometimes transgress these boundaries. But he only does so to stir and prod the spectator’s moral convictions and fire him up into thinking about the ecological ‘territory ethos’. In the past, 7 Performances has been performed at festivals and in the streets, but also to notable politicians and experts at environmental conferences – always to great applause.
directed by: Davis Freeman
cast: Davis Freeman, Jerry Killick
video: Sam Vanoverschelde
co-produced by: Bains Connective, Random Scream
presentation at Divadelná Nitra supported by: Slovak Arts Council, Flanders – State of Art, LITA – Society of Authors, SPP Foundation
Davis Freeman (1969)
is an American artist based in Brussels. In 1999 he founded Random Scream, a theatre company whose aim is to expose the eclectic elements of everyday culture with proposed lines of flight for dance, theatre, and visual arts. Their projects aim to draw attention to what is already there by focusing on our personal interactions and how our choices directly affect each other and the community we live in. Davis creates contemporary theatre and dance, photo/video installations and curatorial projects. His work has been labelled ‘devious political theatre’ and ‘docu-performance’, and it often fights for a more ecological planet. Currently he is touring his latest pieces Do my Mouth, Karaoke (ART), 7 Promises, What you need to know (2nd Place in Danse Elargie competition at Theatre de la Ville). Alongside his own work Davis also performs with Forced Entertainment (Bloody Mess, The World in Pictures), Meg Stuart (Built to Last, Highway 101, Alibi), Stephan Pucher (Kirshgarten, Snapshots) and Superamas (Big 2, Big 3, Empire). This performance will be the first appearance for Davis Freeman and Random Scream at ITF Divadelná Nitra and in the Slovak Republic.