Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Tonight, Matthew, I am going to be… making an entrance and heading straight for the exit. In an absurd account of a performance career spent in fear of the audience, How to Avoid Making an Entrance of Yourself exposes the self-doubt that underlies any attempt to make ‘good art’. Determined to remain anonymous, Dot Howard re-enacts disastrous onstage experiences and anxieties through surprising visual occurrences, a script delivered from the wings, and Sign-a-long, the sign-supporting system based on British Sign Language.
How to Avoid Making an Entrance is another live art offering from the Hunt and Darton Café. Dot Howard has spent her life avoiding crowds ever since a gaggle of medical students witnessed her first ever entrance – a breech birth.
How to Avoid Making an Entrance muses on how ever since she entered the world bottom-first, Dot has been avoiding the limelight – an upfront and self-aware auto-biographical piece covering the artist’s marriage and her past performances.
Dot has constructed an ingenious set for her first larger scale theatrical piece since creating several performances for very intimate audiences. She explains this to the audience through the use of another performer who only uses sign-language.
This is only one way that Dot resists appearing for the audience, always hiding behind her small moveable flats with a red backdrop of dresses. These flats have fold-down sections which allow Dot to momentarily reveal herself and then go back into hiding.
Despite all this absence her performance is vibrant, rays of light peeping through each crack and cranny. Her backstage narratives and confessions are perfectly pitched – honest and generous.
The audience also have a role to play in the proceedings – paper and charcoal are given out to draw Dot who transforms into a comical sculpture on stage. These drawings are then shared which adds to the relaxed atmosphere in the small performance space.
How to Avoid Making an Entrance is a considered piece, the friction of wanting to create live art whilst disliking being in front of an audience was clearly felt. However, this energy was far from negative, Dot Howard was extremely playful throughout and her honesty created a warm appreciation for the piece.
The aesthetic and courage of the performer make this a must-see if you are interested in live-art or autobiographical theatre.