(c) Hugo Gendinning

Forced Entertainment
Signal to Noise

  • Performance

There seems to be a problem, a problem with the connection …

An upbeat spectacle which is slowly breaking apart, “Signal to Noise” summons a delirious late-night churn of fragments – dances, rehearsals, altercations, scenery changes and unexpected weather reports. AI voices are enlisted to perform the text – their unreal chatter and patter mixing interior monologues, unfinished jokes and off-topic interviews. It all sounds right, more or less human, more or less real. What could go wrong?

The six performers lip-sync all the voices, sometimes carefully, sometimes with unhelpful abandon, bringing life to these disembodied, never-bodied speakers. In the process they summon a strange and compelling world where the question of what’s human and what’s not, what’s real life and what’s just pretending is never far away.

Etchells’ musical score mixes everything from filmic atmospheres to noise, xylophones to slowed classical strings, beats, trumpets, grunge guitars, and birdsong, but as ever with the company, the performers are the heart of the work – animating it with the energy and inventiveness that Forced Entertainment have made their calling card.

With the HAU co-production “Signal to Noise” and the performance “L’Addition”, which can be seen at HAU to mark the company’s 40th birthday, Forced Entertainment not only celebrates four decades of experimentation and reinvention of theatre language, but also conjures up a dynamic and captivating encounter between audience and artists. The show is a powerful mix of performance magic and off-hand deconstruction, a simple idea unfolded to open a unique space for the thoughts, laughter and reflections of spectators.

Devised and performed: Robin Arthur, Seke Chimutengwende, Richard Lowdon, Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden and Terry O’Connor / Director: Tim Etchells / Dramaturgy: Tyrone Huggins / Lighting Design: Nigel Edwards / Text: Tim Etchells, Jim Harrison / Music and Sound design: Tim Etchells / Production management: Jim Harrison / Touring technical management: Alex Fernandes.

Production: Forced Entertainment. Co-produkcion: HAU Hebbel Am Ufer, Athens Epidaurus Festival, Holland Festival (Amsterdam), Künstler*innenhaus Mousonturm (Francfort), PACT Zollverein (Essen), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Festival d’automne à Paris, théâtre garonne (Toulouse). Funded within the framework of the Alliance of International Production Houses by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.