Land of the Giants (2015/16)
For 30 years I had the perfect disguise. Like carefully crafted synthetic skin, I hid my true self from the world. With each new partner I forced my body to create yet another layer of lies. Layer upon layer, I moulded myself around the needs and desires of others, until one day the skins cracked and I was forced to see myself for the first time.
Land of the Giants is an autobiographical solo performance work developed with support from Lancaster Arts and Ludus Dance. Over the last year it has been performed at Lancaster Arts, The Dukes theatre (CCL), Burnley College, Ludus Dance, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016 as part of the Yea Big mixed bill of work and recently part of EMERGENCY 2016 by Word of Warning.
Image Credit: David Forrest
Reviews and Write Ups
Catherine Love reflects on her EMERGENCY encounter for Exeunt Magazine
There’s another twist on a familiar form in Maelstrom Theatre’s Land of the Giants, the first of the afternoon’s sit-down shows. The short piece, created and performed by Anthony Briggs, is littered with juggling balls. Dozens of the things, scattered across the floor and flying through the air. Briggs himself, in clown-face, shirt and boxer shorts, looks like something out of a bad dream – one of those dreams where you find yourself, half dressed, required to give a speech you haven’t prepared for. Or a performance you haven’t rehearsed.
There’s a familiar – perhaps too familiar – vocabulary of failure to Briggs’ performance. Balls are juggled, dropped, gathered up, dropped again. Briggs shoots embarrassed, apologetic glances at us, while a pre-recorded voiceover haltingly relates his everyday struggles. Yet the show’s potent evocation of awkwardness and unease lifts it out of a well-worn performance idiom. Briggs looks genuinely uncomfortable in his own skin, his squirming movements suggesting an effort to shrug it right off. And I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such an affecting representation of social anxiety as Briggs’ frozen form, sweating under the harsh stage lights, juggling balls clutched precariously in his arms as a buzz of voices rises louder and louder and louder.
Read it all here.
Ciarán Hodgers goes into a state of emergency for Word of Warning and The State of the Arts.
The first studio performance we settled down for was Land of the Giants – a fun, tender piece from Maelstrom Theatre. A clown tries to juggle, and then dances around the map of fallen balls he was unable to get airborne. I enjoyed this as a homage to failure, resilience and making do with your lot. As the piece played out, it became a somewhat poetic insight into feeling ‘different’, with some simple and effective movement to express this.
Read the rest of it here.