Tomorrow's Parties

Forced Entertainment have a legendary reputation for creating innovative, engaging and challenging theatre and performance. Therefore, Tomorrow’s Parties naturally comes with weighty expectations of being, in one way or another, brilliant.

Tomorrow’s Parties is able to draw attention to the injustices that exist all around us.

Essentially two performers stand in front of us and for an hour or so they imagine and tell us about potential futures. They speak directly to us, contradict each other, tweak each other’s suppositions and always have another idea to throw out into the space.

It certainly has some brilliance about it. The characters’ costumes and the simple coloured lights around the set create an atmosphere that is pensive and curious, as if we’re looking into the kind of late night session when people start talking in suppositions.

It’s incredible how engaging it is simply listening to hundreds of fantastical possibilities. Will the whole world become a theme park? Will groups of people share one body between them?

The easy, casual way in which the two performers – who are rotated on a night-by-night basis – explain their hypothetical futures is so engaging that you can’t help but consider each one that they articulate. Some are lengthier than others but more importantly, as you engage with one future, the second performer will almost always state an alternative or similar one with a key change. This constantly reminds us of the sheer volume of possibilities for the future and thinking about this can produce many effects. Sometimes it’s frightening, sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s strange.

Another element that makes this show so interesting is the number of futures that are based on or inspired by present fears or present injustices. The future in which we take a pill that makes us aggressive and wild at the weekend so that we’ve worked out all our frustration in time for work on Monday is a future that may practically already be here for some. Sometimes the supposition is that very little will change – the poor will still be poor while the rich get richer.

Tomorrow’s Parties is able to draw attention to the injustices (intolerance, loneliness) that exist all around us. Yet at times it is really very funny. It builds to peaks, with one performer getting carried away with their dystopian or utopian future for several minutes, only for the other to shoot that future down.

Ultimately, the show produces a feeling that is hard to describe, like most good theatre should. The feeling is somewhere between hope and awe, tempered with a little pessimism. The only issue that Tomorrow’s Parties could conceivably be argued to have is that it always feels like it’s going to kick off and never really does. Although it seems likely that in a show about the future, that’s part of the point. 

Reviews by Andrew Forbes

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Performances

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The Blurb

International innovators Forced Entertainment present a compelling performance that imagines a multitude of hypothetical futures. Tomorrow’s Parties is a playful, poignant and at times delirious look forwards to futures both possible and impossible. On a stage framed by coloured fairground lights, this seemingly minimal performance reveals itself as a low-fi theatrical explosion. Two performers enjoy the pleasure of invention as their suppositions take them in different directions. From utopian and dystopian visions, science fiction scenarios, political nightmares and absurd fantasies, Forced Entertainment deliver a thought-provoking survey of hopes and fears as they speculate about what the future might bring.

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