CHRIS THURMAN: The discomfort of silence
A Market Theatre audience shows how little we are prepared to do the work of reflection on our daily sensory overload
When you walk into the theatre to watch Rule of Three, you’re given a pair of earplugs. This is because the piece, developed by Belgian choreographer Jan Martens in collaboration with US drummer and producer NAH, gets quite loud. I mean ears-ringing-from-standing-next-to-the-speaker loud. It’s also bright. I mean epileptic-seizure-inducing-strobes-coming-through-your-eyelids bright. The aim is, in part, to reproduce the atmosphere and experience of a club. There is the sensory overload, the heady excitement, the adrenalin and euphoria. And there is the low that follows (or even accompanies) the high: a profound sense of alienation, a kind of existential emptiness or false escapism, a feeling of loneliness despite being in a crowd. Martens also seeks to replicate the “noise” of everyday life — the fragmentary but endless stream of a Facebook feed, the disconnection that comes from living in a hyper-connected world, the constant distraction we are offered and our consequent restlessne...