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performance

Forced Entertainment

Forced Entertainment, (In) Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare, 2016. Performance view, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, February 25, 2016. Robin Arthur. Photo: Nathan Keay.

MOST ARTISTIC COLLABORATION is ad hoc and short-lived. But what happens when it goes on for decades, and yet takes place within the most ephemeral of genres, live performance? This probably wasn’t the question a group of University of Exeter drama graduates set out to answer in 1984 when founding a company that was not quite traditional artists’ collective and not quite traditional theater group. They called themselves Forced Entertainment, and led by artistic director Tim Etchells, the group’s current members (Etchells, Robin Arthur, Richard Lowdon, Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden, and Terry O’Connor) have won fresh recognition for altering the parameters of theatrical form through thrilling marathon performances alongside installations, video, and digital works.

Above all, it is the group’s embrace of wordplay that sets them apart from their contemporaries in performance. While

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