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The Smile Off Your Face


Photo: Virginie Schreyen

ONTROEREND GOED and the Sydney Festival present THE SMILE OFF YOUR FACE at the Pilgrim Theatre.

OTROEREND GOED is a theatre performance group from Ghent. The name of the group roughly translates as Feel Estate. the “Feel” part is very apt for this show.

When you arrive you are, sat one by one, into a wheelchair, your eyes are blindfolded, and you hands are lightly but firmly bound with rope at the wrists. You are then wheeled – individually, separately – behind a door and curtain and guided through a set of experiences. Deprived of sight your other senses: hearing, touch, smell and taste are heightened. This very individual and personal performance concerns just you, the individual, and the creators. It is a game of trust. The more willing you can surrender to the partners of your journey the more you will probably gain from it. You are permitted to indulge your imagination. You are able to explore “your pleasures, fears, desires and memories.” TRUST.

It is not right to reveal the details of the journey. I can report that when I was released from my wheelchair in the foyer, I laughed and laughed and laughed. I was slightly delirious with the fun (audacity) of the piece. Depending on the sophistication of your life experiences, after reading the comments of previous audience participants, the piece can affect you from as wide a range of response as ecstatic to deeply profound. Some people moved to tears etc.The smile was still on my face and stayed there for many hours afterwards. When thinking back on it, the dimples return…… I wrote in the comment book, see if you can identify me. This work is very simple in its thesis but totally unique and fun to do. Go, if you can get a booking.

This work won the FRINGE AWARD for BEST THEATRE in Adelaide, 2008.

Playing now until 1 February. Book online or call 02 9007 0007.

1 replies to “The Smile Off Your Face”

  1. Yes, great experience.
    For anyone else who loved it, I hear that they’re doing a follow up to this show at this year’s Edinburgh Festival. Also, another play by the same company called “Once And For All We’re Going To Show You Who We Are So Shut Up And Listen” will hopefully be coming to the Opera House around August so keep your eyes peeled. It’s a more conventional sit-in-a-theatre-and-watch affair, by and about teenagers. Well worth seeing, particularly post Bill Henson controversy.

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