Theatre Critic and Journalist

Ever tried.

Ever tried.

On a roundabout journey through the dusty corners of the internet, I stumbled across the following youtube clip. In many ways, its just another piece of web trash: a clip from America’s Dumbest Whatevers or Anti-heroes of CCTV. It’s an excuse to laugh at idiocy, to point at stupidity, at sub-humanity. It’s infectious. It’s parasitic. It’s sort of funny.

But forget that. Disable the sound. Stop his lips and look again.




More than anything it reminds me of contemporary dance. Perhaps of DV8’s Cost of Living or Lotte van der Berg’s Stillen or a Pina Bausch piece loosed from the stage. There’s pain and total, tortured inability in there. There’s a real encounter with the body as a conjoined series of component parts. There’s true, truthful failure.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote about the need for an integrity of failure to replace the aesthetic of failure. In this – particularly in the second half – it is the concertedness of the attempt than lends the failure its purity and its honesty. You just know that he could contract and contort forever and still remain on the floor; fixed and transfixing in equal measure.

Photograph: Jon Haynes

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