Forced Entertainment [Sheffield]

Exquisite Pain

Exquisite Pain
Exquisite Pain

12.01 – 19.01.2006

A man and a woman take turns to tell stories of ordinary and not-so-ordinary heart-break. For each story a single iconic image slides across the screen behind them. A red telephone on a hotel bed. A subway station. A photograph. A green Mercedes.

The woman narrates repeatedly the story of a break up; the suffering at the end of an affair.  Each time she remembers it differently, adding and subtracting details, finding new ways to both remember and forget what happened. In contrast to this obsessive repetition the man tells many different stories collected from the lives of other people; each story a snapshot narrative of sorrow, big or small, that takes its place in a growing catalogue of suffering, break-ups, humiliations, deaths, illnesses and love letters that never arrive.

In this simple and intimate performance based on a text by the renowned French conceptual artist Sophie Calle, Forced Entertainment explore how the forces of language, memory and forgetting move to contain, preserve or erase events, how as a person one comes to terms with trauma. Exquisite Pain is about remembering and forgetting, about love and about loss, about the stories we tell ourselves when things have gone wrong.

Based in Sheffield UK, Forced Entertainment is well known for its wide range of original devised projects. In 2005  the company works for the first time with an existing text as source material - not a play from the theatrical cannon, but rather text and images by Sophie Calle whose extraordinary work has long attempted to blur the boundaries of visual art practice with performance and real life.


mise en scène Tim Etchells
acteurs Robin Arthur, Cathy Naden
d'après un texte de Sophie Calle
décor Richard Lowdon
éclairage Nigel Edwards
technique Ray Rennie
coproduction Theater der Welt 2005 (Stuttgart), BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen), The National Museum of Art, Design and Architecture (Oslo), Kaaitheater (Brussels), La Filature, scène nationale de Mulhouse, Tanzquartier Wien.

Forced Entertainment est subventionné par Arts Council England and Sheffield City Council.