"I want the onlookers to think I am a hard man, someone to be reckoned with, a rebel, a loner, a misguided youth - no - I’ve changed my mind..." -The Gob Squad
Hitting the streets of Perth during the 2012 Perth Festival was a group of people who were fighting a war against anonymity. This group of UK and German artists, formally named The Gob Squad, explore the point to which the theatre meets art, media and real life. The group are no strangers to the art of improvisation and they intrigue the audience with pre-knowledge of an entire performance which will be improvised. The show which officially started in the foyer lead the audience to believe they were witnessing the beginning of a night full of strange and wonderful encounters and events... But in actuality, it would be more suitable to say it was more the end of the performance in which the audience were participating.
The four actors were in fact at the end of an hour long journey that took them through the streets of Perth to prove that the city really needed them. Working under an hour long time constraint, the four actors were armed with a video camera each, producing footage that would not include any cuts nor editing throughout the night. The streets of Perth became the blank canvas that these actors would paint an extravagant scene on, with bystanders being the extras, or even a potential friend or love interest.
It was intriguing seeing how The Gob Squad played out the idea of improvisation via this hour long multi-video event, which was in fact filmed one hour before the audience even arrived. As the audience struggled with focus points as they viewed four separate screens of footage, they were directed as the audio moved from one screen to another. This ‘moving sound’ effect guided and created the storyline. Music was also added for effect while watching the screens and definitely was an appreciable element in contributing to the mood of the performance. This can especially be seen in one of the final scenes, where the hero finally gets his kiss.
The four characters had very different roles within this performance and were characterised as four different animals, a rabbit, a cat, a wolf and a chicken. These four animals were also very symbolic. In many ways, the hero being represented as a rabbit challenges our preconceived ideas that rabbits are fluffy, innocent and can’t do much. The representation of a rabbit shows the audience that anyone can be a hero no matter how big or small. On the other hand, the wolf being the character who found the perfect location was stereotypical of wolves as territorial, traveling animals. Sarah Thom played this character and had to search the streets of Perth in the night to find the perfect location for the hero’s kiss.
The Gob Squad are a company who started in Nottingham in 1994, but are now based in Berlin. They pride themselves in finding beauty in everyday life and are distinguishable by their war against anonymity. According to the company, they find “everyday life and magic, banality and utopia, reality and entertainment are all set on a collision course” and their audience is often invited to step out of their role and “bear witness to the results.”
Super Night Shot is a performance which could be enjoyed by late teens, drama students and teachers, avid theatre goers, or anyone who enjoys a different style of theatre and is open to seeing something new. The Gob Squad took the streets of Perth by storm, and who knows what to expect next time?