Sight is the Sense that Dying People Tend to Lose First


Images: © Tim Etchells

Socks are gloves for the feet. Snow is cold. Water is the same thing as ice. In America things are bigger. America is a country. Korea is also a country. Some men have sex appeal. Blind people cannot see anything. Burglars are men that go into houses and take things which do not belong to them. Mist is like smoke but it comes without fire. The telephone is an amazing invention. A mouse that is dead is sometimes referred to as a specimen. Love is difficult to describe. Fire is what happens when things get very hot.

A shifting, personal, decidedly imprecise and badly organised taxonomy, Sight Is The Sense That Dying People Tend To Lose First is a free-associating monologue that tumbles from topic to topic. The work creates a failing iteration and explanation of the world, the things, forces, experiences, people and landscapes in it – what they are and how they work.

Exploring the processes of describing and defining the world through language and the ways in which a lone speaking subject might approach this task, Sight Is The Sense… embarks on a mission that is comically doomed from the outset. Structured as a maddening accumulation of un-linked facts, the performance – a virtuoso piece of recall by any definition – makes the viewer highly aware of the gaps in its grasp on the world, and in the narrative and conceptual possibilities created through its evolving sequence of dissociated facts and opinions.

A table has four legs. A prison cell has four corners. A window is an opening in the wall of a room built by people who want to see outside. A hostage is a prisoner used to bargain with. A bargain is a deal or an arrangement where one person has one thing and the other wants it and the first person has something that the other wants and they make an exchange so that each is more happy. A fart is gas that escapes from a body. Torture is a way of hurting people, in the belief that this will make them tell you things you need to know. Some bridges fall down under specific circumstances. A layer of ozone protects us from the rays of the sun. Lions, horses and women can make interesting subjects for statues.

Comical in its apparent naiveté and preposterously encyclopaedic in scope, Sight Is The Sense… explores the absurdity and horror of consciousness as it tries and fails to seize and define everything that it encounters.

Written and Directed by Tim Etchells
Performed by Jim Fletcher
Lighting Design by Nigel Edwards
Produced by Forced Entertainment
Assistant Direction by Pascale Petralia


Read New York based theatre academic Jonathan Kalb’s generous and smart response to Forced Entertainment’s Quizoola! and Sight Is The Sense….

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