Dystopia and Optimism: Check Out Forced Entertainment at On the Boards, January 18-21

Posted on January 16, 2018, 3:00 pm
2 mins

For anyone who recently binge-watched Black Mirror, a night or two with Tim Etchell‘s acclaimed performance troupe Forced Entertainment is an apt codicil. Their two productions at On the Boards this weekend blend fatalism and optimism to droll effect. They aren’t just for dark sci-fi fans, of course. They can be recommended to anyone loves a good dose of wry, British absurdity.

Real Magic

Real Magic runs the first three nights of the troupe’s engagement at On the Boards, Thursday, January 18 through Saturday, January 20. Three performers play out numerous iterations of a schlocky game/variety show. What begins as an exercise in futility becomes increasingly desperate, though the stakes—it would seem—couldn’t be lower. Why can’t they just change the game or walk away? Maybe it isn’t that simple. If by the end, the madness begins to resemble our present social condition, it isn’t coincidence.

Critic Lyn Gardner writing for The Guardian listed Real Magic in her top 10 performances of 2017. Read more and get tickets online.

Tomorrow’s Parties

Tomorrow’s Parties is a one-night-only event on Sunday, January 21. Here, Forced Entertainment temporarily escapes the present by looking to the future. But do we transcend, or do we go from the frying pan into the fryer? It depends on whom you ask. Two performers on a minimal stage ponder the possibilities without a clear telos, and end up taking very different directions. Read more and get tickets online.


On the Boards subscribers can attend Real Magic as a regular performance. All performances begin at 8pm.

Tomorrow’s Parties is a special matinee event (5pm) and requires a separate ticket purchase, even for subscribers. See a snippet of the show below.

Featured photo by Hugo Glendinning, courtesy of On the Boards.

T.s. Flock is a writer and arts critic based in Seattle and co-founder of Vanguard Seattle.