Lockdown review: Entitled

Up to Manchester for this Zoom screening of 2011’s mix of movement and words from Quarantine, followed by a discussion with the creatives.

Entitled is “a show about nothing” on the surface, as we watch stage technicians set up for a dance performance, and then dismantle the set they have created.

Sounds odd. But as it develops we get to know those behind the scenes, who build, light, and dress. We hear about cables, sound systems, the effects of stage magic. And eventually, we see inside the people we often dismiss or don’t even notice.

Fiona in Entitled
Fiona in Entitled

For me, Entitled is a fascinating piece of theatre which raises lots of issues around how we see ourselves and what we think about, worry about, fantasise about, as we do the mundane routine of work.

A dancer (Joanna) muses on “when my last dance might be”. A trio of stage hands (Greg, Chris, Lisa) reveal the mechanics which allow the illusion of reality to come through on stage. There are mentions of politics, children, trends.

Music, too. Beethoven. PJ Harvey, Nick Cave. Lost loves, missed opportunities. Fiona, who “does other things for the company” but “doesn’t have a life story to tell”. She stands for the light cues and chats to the audience.

Laying the floor in Entitled
Laying the floor in Entitled

Sonia, understanding “anything is possible”. Joanna, whose movement reveals her heart, “I’ll remember when I used to dance, and we all danced together”. Chris, talking of building things to smash “if my wife dies”.

Profound, stark, brave and beautiful, Entitled strips back perceptions of what theatre should be and in presenting “nothing”, creates something which resonates with all of us.

You can find more about Quarantine on their website. Their mantra is about “closing the gap between performer and material” making the players “individuals, each with their own story”.

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