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18 October, 2019

Explaining normal is easy, performing it is more important

It’s reasonably easy to explain normal; Google provides a definition of eight words in less than a second but trying to explain the theatre experience Explain Normal playing at Metro Arts is going to take a few more words than that.

A dance theatre work by Daniele Constance about the concept of normality within our society and featuring artists with a range of mental and physical abilities certainly had the potential to be an incredibly informative and thought-provoking piece.

The audience was taken through scenes of dance, movement, imagery and words all attempting to show the experience of normalcy and living inside and outside of whatever that happens to be.

It was a pleasure to see the passion in each performer and one can’t deny the intention of each scene to provoke thought about oneself and one’s own feelings on the subject of normal.

While I enjoyed the intention of this piece, I couldn’t help but feel a little restless at points with some scenes seeming to take too long and parts of the performance feeling a little self-indulgent.

Also, but perhaps more the fault of the venue than the performers, the sounds drifting in from the street outside were at times quite distracting and being able to see clearly the technical side of this piece at the side of stage also distracted from the performance itself.

In saying that, smaller theatre productions about subjects like Explain Normal are so important to the arts and therefore our society, enabling us to explore subjects that help us continue to improve our sense of inclusiveness for all abilities and appreciate that normality is part of a scale, not a specific position and perhaps the word normal has more than one definition.