Dirty Work

Created 1998

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“Act One begins with five great nuclear explosions. A man delivers a letter to the wrong address, causing months of confusion and unhappiness. There are scenes of betrayal, romance and great anguish. There are scenes of death, folly and ambush. The whole of Doncaster is grid-locked with traffic. The whole of Dortmund is overgrown with foliage. The sky grows dark and silence falls.”

Set on a tiny wooden stage with ragged curtains, Dirty Work involves two performers who alternately compete and work together to imagine and describe a performance as big, as varied, as ugly and as impossible as the whole world. Summoned in text alone, accompanied by the sound of piano on a battered record player, this performance — with an imaginary cast of thousands — explores a world in which real life is so often presented as spectacle.


Conceived and devised by the company.

Performers Robin Arthur, Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden
Direction Tim Etchells
Text Tim Etchells and the company
Design Richard Lowdon
Lighting Design Nigel Edwards
Soundtrack John Avery / found sources

Dirty Work is a Forced Entertainment production.