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SPE - PERFORMANCE AND EXHIBITION SPACE

2-3 APRIL 2016
H 21:00

Mamoru Iriguchi
Painkillers

winner of "Provisional Assemblages" open call

creation, performance, project (set, costumes, sound, lighting)  Mamoru Iriguchi
dramaturgy  Nikki Tomlinson/Selina Papoutseli/Susanne Zaun/Philipp Schulte
costume supervision  Maria Garcia/Yao Liao
voiceover  Heather Uprichard
supported by Arts Council England, National Theatre Studio, The Yard and Artsadmin



In Painkillers, Mamoru Iriguchi explores physical pain, obesity and body image through a series of magic tricks. As a magician’s assistant sporting a vast knitted fatsuit, (s)he is at the mercy of knives, saws and guns, conjuring scenes from backstage, onstage and everywhere in between. A double-sided swiveling wall is the only set element found on stage in Painkillers, indicating two locations between which Assistant (Mamoru) goes back and forth – the stage and the dressing room. Magician is completely absent both on and off stage. Instead, it is Stage Manager who turns out to be Assistant’s company, either talking to her through either a small Tannoy speaker in the dressing room or big PA speakers on stage. Stage Manager, however, never appears in person, as she is not allowed to leave the operator’s box during the show. In spite of Magician’s absence, the pair’s dangerous magic tricks including Bullet catch, Knife throwing and Sawing-a-woman-in-half seem to be taking place onstage as we see Mamoru’s knitted skin gets torn and stuffing starts spilling out in the due course. Gradually it becomes apparent that Magician may reside in the skin and flesh of his Assistant, and that Assistant may be locked in the other side of the dressing room mirror, only showing her face (identical to Mamoru’s) as a mirror image when Mamoru looks into it. Audience participation adds another layer to the structure of the piece. Like any staged magic, Mamoru asks audience members to volunteer to shoot or to be shot for the famous Bullet Catch trick. They effectively take over Magician and Assistant’s roles to react the incident that have caused the absence of Magician. What eventually emerges is a complex Matryshka-doll-like narrative, visual and physical structure where volunteering audience members, Magician, Assistant, Stage Manager, the dressing room, the stage and their mirror images are confusedly co-exist. The physical pain connects them all.

suitable for an adult audience only


 2016 Painkillers 01
photo: Jemima Yong

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