A Figment In The Elsewhere #1: Traumata

-being the first in an ongoing series detailing stand-out acts that ‘appeared’ at The Double R Club (often more than once); acts that Rose Thorne and I loved, that seem to typify in some way, or stand as emblems for, just what it is The Double R have attempted to do, to be, displays that went some way to describing our own particular brand of ‘Lynchian’, over the last 100 shows and nine years…


[pic by SoulStealer]

This time: Traumata and her rabbit act.

First appearing at The Double R in November of 2010, and most recently at our 100th show this year, Traumata (performance artist Hellen Burrough) took as her inspiration David Lynch’s webseries of shorts Rabbits, a collection 6 sinister/absurdist films prefaced with the tagline “In a nameless city deluged by a continuous rain… three rabbits live with a fearful mystery.”

As Hellen hails from the world of performance art, her approach to that performance is makedly different from practically any other act we’ve ever booked.

Performed to music and dialogue from the Rabbits webseries (and from Inland Empire), to its ominous synth drones and tones, to the rabbits themselves speaking in strange non-sequiters and a disembodied audience barking canned laughter and applause:

JACK: Were there any calls?

JANE: Do not forget that today is friday.

[audience laughter]

JACK: I am not sure.

JANE: There have been no calls today

[audience laughter]

it is an act of supreme minimalism, a slow crawl of an act that builds beautifully, and that routinely wrongfoots an audience and leaves them never quite sure just what’s happening and where the act might be going. You can almost hear them wondering Is… Is this… Burlesque?!

So that when the act does end in blood, real blood, as Hellen first takes off her jacket, then her rabbit mask, and then pulls several needles from her forehead (and bleeds freely down her face) the sense of dislocation from expectation, from what cabaret is ‘supposed to be’ and from the unreality, the artificiality, of performance being somehow invaded by the visceral real, this has a wonderfully unsettling, yet strangely beautiful effect.

134RRJulyWG13 - Sin Bozkurt-®
[pic by Sin Bozkurt]

[pic by Sin Bozkurt]

POST SCRIPTUM… An email received by The Double R Club, following the act’s second appearance:

Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2011


I came to your Twin Peaks Contest in Bethnal Green on the 16th, such a great night and so expertly compered, fantastic stuff. I just wanted to mention that I have this unfortunate habit of fainting and becoming very unwell when I see blood. I’m not a squeamish person and it’s really very annoying, but I do for whatever reason. Maybe it’s just me, but having live self-harm, in ‘Traumata’s act, seemed a bit extreme in the context of this night, something more suited to the likes of Torture Garden… I think it’s great to test boundaries and I’m all for extreme acts but in this case I felt perhaps there could have been some kind of warning. As it was, I blacked out and spent half an hour on the steps outside with my head between my legs trying to regain composure!

This really isn’t an arsey complaint email as I can see why it might be tricky to put a warning on the programme, but I thought you might welcome the feedback. Thanks for an otherwise entertaining evening

~ by benjaminlouche on November 26, 2018.

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