Earlier this year I got into a fight with a stranger because he was throwing stones at a sitting duck. She was protecting her eggs. The man’s children were collecting the stones for him to throw. I asked him if he could please stop what he was doing because it was unnecessary. He told me to mind my own business, or words to that effect. I was in a foreign country and we did not speak each other’s language. What ensued was an angry, abusive and physical confrontation that achieved nothing: he continued to throw stones at the duck and I walked home to write about it on facebook.
Piece For Person and Ghetto Blaster is the story of a man, a woman and a duck. It dissects the excruciating realms of human behaviour by calling into question our capacity to make moral judgments and relate to others in an ethical way.
The work is disarmingly simple – exploring in great depth the moral conundrum of what should one do if one comes across a person throwing stones at a duck – but gradually becomes mind-bogglingly complex. Threaded between observations and memories of this brief encounter with a stranger are philosophical musings about peace and conflict, moral relativism, the ethics of intervention and the very function of art. Each new complication is layered into the mix until the ability to maintain different ethical and conceptual paradigms within one’s mind at the same time exhausts itself.
Accompanying the text is a rhythmic sound composition and an unpredictable choreography that shifts from the unnecessary and incongruous to the strangely affecting. The effect is of a mental rhythm playing onto and against a highly impulsive conflation of physical rhythms. Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster slips across tempos, ideas and performance modes – from movement to dance to performance art and back again – to create something inescapably unique. The culmination of these multiple layers is a work in perpetual motion, full of wit, provocation and reflection.
Green Room Award for Outstanding Contemporary & Experimental Performance – 2015
Green Room Award for Best Performer in a Contemporary & Experimental Performance – 2015
Perth Fringe World Best Theatre Award – 2016
“Comic Genius… Gunn’s text is intricate and often brilliant, full of unpredictable digressions and curious factoids. It’s the verbal equivalent of skimming stones over water.” The Age
“NICOLA Gunn’s theatre is tantalising, entertaining, ridiculous and often bewildering in the best possible way. This marvellously eccentric, charming and mischievous performer has created yet another stylish, inventive and startling work…mesmerising and unforgettable.” Herald Sun
“Mordantly witty, and wittily digressive.” Daily Review