Thursday, 15 March 2012

Critical Peas

Calum MacAskill
How Peas are Made
The alliance of agricultural multinationals and radical physical theatre performers has given the UK some of its most vibrant performances of the last ten years: MacAskill, until now better known for his adaptations of Faust and Pirates of the Caribbean – both one man shows that astounded audiences with his versatility and ready humour – now joins this veritable industry with a site-specific study of DNA, evolution and delicious meals.
The decision to take a working farm as venue is a brave one – when MacAskill climbs atop a threshing machine and bellows the show’s title at a vast uncaring barn, he highlights the intrinsic horror lurking behind both the blind idiot force of natural selection and playing about in what is, after all, just a big factory for food production.

Yet in these moments of bravado, MacAskill reveals a deeper truth. Existing in the modern world demands compromise, not least the willing forgetfulness of the processes that conspire to make us who we are.

Undoubtedly, this is his big break: the theme tune, that plays in the background as he leads the audience around the farm, has already gone viral online, and threatens to be the Christmas number one. It’s heartening that such a series look at man’s relationship to nature has become part of mainstream conversation.

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