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Guest review 6: Musician Brían Mac Gloinn (Ye Vagabonds) on ‘Relic’

Fri 27 May 2016

Guest review 6: Musician Brían Mac Gloinn (Ye Vagabonds) on ‘Relic’

Relic is hilarious - really absurd and grotesque. There was a lot of laughter and a lot of fear that the artist (Euripides Laskiridis) used. It starts out disturbing and then it gets gradually more and more surreal, until it becomes just ridiculous and you don’t feel it’s a dangerous thing, and then all of a sudden, it is dangerous again. It’s brilliantly terrifying. He uses such good experimental props as well – I think they’re juicers, like orange juicing juicers, with bits taken off them, which he’d repurposed.

There were a few costume changes during the show – I thought it was really amazing how quickly he morphed into something else. How, just by putting on a mask and shirt he turns into this sad, lonely man… and then back into a woman who could be someone’s mother. The fat body suit he was wearing throughout was brilliantly strange too. And after a while, you just kind of got used to the suit, it just became the character and it wasn’t totally alien… but in a way, it also was, because in a way I think that was part of the effect of it – it was looking at something you didn’t totally identify with at first and then suddenly you did identify with it, at certain times, in certain scenes. You see him at one point with a wig on, smoking, and all of a sudden, because of the music he has on and the fact that there’s a film playing in the corner, it’s like a really lonely person in an apartment with the TV on and there’s music going outside – it’s really profound.

I stayed for the Q&A afterwards, which was brilliant. I was really fascinated by his process – he always has somebody in the studio with him, friends that call in and out while he’s rehearsing, people who give him feedback and who he can bounce off. I can’t imagine what that would be like – having people in the room while I was rehearsing. It’d be awful.

For me, it’s generally important to know what meaning people get from what I’m doing, from a song, from a lyric… with dance or physical theatre, it’s not so clear a meaning – it’s not a language, or a spoken language anyway. That’s why I thought it was interesting that he has people in the room with him all the time. I often write when I’m around groups of people, but it’s like a weird balance between not wanting people to hear my thoughts and being able to feed off the group of people that’s there and the atmosphere in the room. For some reason that allows me to forget about myself in that group of people – like what Euripides talks about, his use of transformation – taking himself out of the process.

I asked him if he ever listens to music while he’s rehearsing and he said he always puts on cheesy music to begin with, to give him ideas, and then he’ll get rid of the music altogether, or replace it with something else. It seems like a really pure artform. He’s a really brilliant artist - someone who does something that’s completely their own.