What are you afraid of?
(FEAR) is a newly devised piece by Mr and Mrs Clark. It is a show about what makes you jump out of your skin and what makes you hide away at night. It talks about how society makes us fear, and what it makes us afraid of. What we fear lives pretty deep in our subconscious. Some people are more aware of it than others. When the awareness grows, and seeps into the forefront of our minds, we become paranoid, neurotic, and anxious. (FEAR) is about what happens when that awareness floats to the surface, becoming an unavoidable iceberg in a sea of information.
(FEAR) is a performed by Gareth Clark as a solo show, and examines a very male perspective on fear and anxiety. That’s really interesting, and what the show could have done is explore mental anxieties in men acutely and with real nuance. As a disclaimer, at the show I attended the projector didn’t work. Perhaps if it did the show would have felt more multifaceted. As it was, the trajectory felt unfinished. If we are going to talk about fear, shock, and anxiety, the audience need to either feel shell shocked or comforted (so they can process it). As it was, the fear Clark displayed seemed artificial, and so I felt nothing. What was presented to me was simply a man with legitimate fears, concerns, and terrors. He is afraid of the dark, and he is also afraid of terrorism. The list of what he is afraid of, in fact, is very long.
What am I afraid of?
I find I’m afraid of white men so much of the time.
It is their superiority, their fragility, their defences.
It seemed like this man was just beginning to discover that all these things are dangerous. However, people of colour and women have felt these fears for decades. Somehow that didn’t sit right. More needs to be done to situate these statements within a wider context. At the crux of the piece, there is a deep seated political message, which feels necessary. Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine is cited as one of the piece’s source materials. It details how governments, brands and powerful politicians use shock to pass through detrimental, selfish laws and incite hate. As an exploration of that set of ideas, Mr and Mrs Clark’s show is intelligently condensed and vital. However, as a theatrical piece there seems to be a lack of cohesion, particularly in the links between individual and collective fear.
Nevertheless, these anxieties must be addressed. I was speaking to a friend who said that this show made him feel less alone in his concerns about the world around him. (FEAR) relates to its audience well, except that it needs to explore further what is behind the identified fears, and really dig out the political, social, cultural drive that keeps the iceberg afloat.
(FEAR) is on until 28 August 2017 at Zoo. Click here for more details.