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The Black Veil

Hatch - Deborah Pearson & Pat Ashe

28 September 11 words: Thomas Norton
Performance art that challenges nostalgia and the past.


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Pat Ashe - An Oasis

Look back on your formative years and you may merely regret the scrappy haircuts and risible fashion taste but this mediation remains such a simple luxury - musing the trials and triumphs that have lead to the path where you're standing. For one of Hatch's first seasonal shows based on the theme of "reflection", two artists join the Broadway, exploring their journey to adulthood and the memories which have brought them there.

Nottingham artist Pat Ashe leads, split his set An Oasis into fifths, guiding the chronicle of his escape from the maddening clutches of Leicester black hole, Ashby De-La Zouche. Initially engaging, Ashe introduces his work with a humorous lament of his hometown, bantering with a few choice quotes more akin to a stand-up comic ("My friends had weed. I didn't have weed because I couldn't afford it"). It then develops, somewhat incongruently, into amateur poetry and whether it's to do with how each of these elements are jointed together or even a general inconsistency in his material, each subsequent chapter in An Oasis lacks the vitality of the opener. A short animation, followed by more poetry, before a spoken word monologue unfolds, loaded with ornery sentiment ("the kids who sat at the back in GCSE English now sit in pubs"). Thankfully, a personal selection of songs from, Mogwai, manages to calm some of this overwrought direction.

If by admission of the artist and the organisers Ashe had only taken ten days to prepare this work, it might explain why it voiced such a particularly fragile stream of consciousness although the net effect feels uncomfortable and laboured.

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Deborah Pearson

Canadian Deborah Person's Like You Were Before by contrast, centres round the retelling of video footage recorded during her first move to the UK.   Following her family & friends as they react to her departure, itself indulgent or staged. She offers as much insight into the waitress serving her drinks as she does to the unspoken melancholy building on the journey to the airport.

      Pearson doesn't shrug off the intimacy of her relationship either. She narrates amusing conversations about sex and masturbation as well as disclosing frank and personal revelations unearthed from repeated study of the film. At one point, a minor comment made at a party about eating disorders escalates into a catastrophic faux pas when it's revealed that it's been made in the company of an acquaintance suffering from anorexia. Whilst these moments tremble with nervous energy and unease, Pearson's sensitive and personable manner in turn enhances the bond she's simultaneously creating with the audience.

The delicate consideration she treats this material with, combined with a tongue in cheek humour throughout ("Is it ok to fall in love with a video of yourself?") builds to a memorable conclusion as the final shot pans out to her sat on a plane. Far from being strictly autobiographical, Like You Were Before, evocatively captures the imprecise notion of nostalgia - a feeling both universal and distinct.

Pearson announced from the start, that this evening's performance of Like You Were Before, will be her last for three years - it was only when it drew to a close that we realised how much of a crying that it was.

Whilst the premise of tonight's show could have come unhinged with its loose structure, Hatch have yet again proved themselves to be one of the most creative local art collectives. A bold charming and insightful concept that overall was both rewarding and fittingly memorable.

Hatch Website
Deborah Pearson

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