Feeble Minds

James Hadley reviewed Feeble Minds on The Big Idea website from New Zealand.

Click here to read the review.

 

The Gate Post review Feeble Minds:

Established over the past thirty years, Spare Tyre uses theatre to work with vulnerable adults, including older people and those with learning difficulties. Under the direction of Arti Prashar, assisted by Isaac Ngugi, these actors perform with amazing spirit, determination and obvious enjoyment.
Inspired by seeing a performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Timon of Athens’, the directors saw an opportunity “to explore some of its many themes and give it a Spare Tyre makeover”. Lieutske Visser’s graphically distressed costumes make the performers appear as living Gerald Scarfe grotesques, set against a multi-media backdrop, as they explore the themes of greed, materialism and the cult of the celebrity.

 

Science is a Lie review Feeble Minds:

Reality TV rarely confronts us with reality. Theatre, however, always does. Spare Tyre Theatre's latest production, Feeble Minds, is an extraordinary piece of theatre that puts life right in your face, with little room to retreat.

Director Arti Prashar brings together inc. Theatre Ensemble - a collective made of 11 artists with a range of learning disabilities and actors over the age of 60 from the group HotPots - in creating a play based on Shakespeare's Timon of Athens. One of Shakespeare's problem plays, Timon of Athens is a bitter commentary on subjects such as greed, indulgence and materialism in his day. Rather than an adaptation, Feeble Minds is a work inspired by these topics, with a contemporary makeover and a strong emphasis on multi-sensory experience.

On entering the space, a collection of hung kitchen utensils create a rich soundscape which is then followed by various recordings of the sounds of everyday life - running water, cooking noises, and, of course, music. Slowly this becomes layered with projections of text, the singing and dancing of the actors and, rather evocatively, the smell of food. It is only on retrospect that it is clear that this is a show for the visually impaired and those who are hard of hearing. In all honesty, as an under-35-year-old and able audience member, I am astonished by the performance in front of me. Emotions and expressions are delivered with such honesty that it is at once shocking and thought provoking.

A truly courageous undertaking, the elderly and the less abled have so much to share with the contemporary audience. They represent a reality that most of us choose to ignore, until it intervenes and becomes part of our life. But then, they have set out to prove that The Bard's work is as universal as ever, and see it as a unique challenge. As the director says, it is a 'risky and daring' project. Are you feeling brave to see it?

Ingrid Hu - Monday 27 July 2009

 

Here are just a few of the brilliant audience comments about Feeble Minds:

"A serious message was given across with a sense of humour. Thank you. I hope this continues."

"I am so amazed by the pleasure and endurance and achievement of those wonderful people. The soundtrack was good too."

"Great in your face production."

"It was multi-sensory from the start, which was wonderful. It was disturbing, engaging and thought provoking and finally the performers believed in it. The performers were as one team – brilliant."

"It challenged my perspective about myself."

"Found this show absolutely glorious."

"Feeble is certainly not a word I use to describe this show. It is beautiful, funny, all encompassing and courageous."

"I liked the underlying darkness throughout but also that glimmer of hope. The feast was particularly good."

"It all worked together in such a powerful way – performance, set, production. Most of all it challenged me."

"Visually stunning – fantastic design."

"Senses bristling – What will come next?"

 

Arti Prashar, director of Feeble Minds, reveals the feelings and happenings in the run up to the show on the BBC London website:

Click here to read Arti's blog.


Feeble Minds features on the Fringe Report website:

Click here to read the feature.

 

Feeble Minds pictures feature on Guardian Online.

Click here to see the pictures alongside pictures of other Learning Disabled actors.