A new TOOT play after David Foster Wallace
★★★★ "You shouldn’t miss Toot’s exquisitely crafted and often painfully funny Focus Group*" - The Guardian
★★★★ "innovative, surreal and experimental" - The Stage
★★★★ "hysterically funny, while addressing profound existential issues" - Everything Theatre
"this parable of limiting life down to human usefulness is as beautiful as it is bleak" - Exeunt
Created and performed by Stuart Barter, Clare Dunn and Terry O'Donovan.
Dramaturgy by Nina Steiger.
Design by Jackie Shemesh.
Produced by Faith Dodkins.
Inspired by the short story Mister Squishy by cult US writer David Foster Wallace, Focus Group* is an absurd comedy with a dark heart, exploring the absurdity of modern life and consumer culture with humanity and humour. It is dark, unsettling and playful. The production celebrates the human drive to continue in what can feel like an increasingly remote reality.
Through TOOT’s distinctive style of interactive performance, the company provokes audiences to consider whether a real connection is possible at all.
Sit back, eat (individually wrapped, luxury) cake, and see a man gradually relinquish the delusion that he matters in the slightest.... And then go back to watching kitten videos on Facebook.
Focus Group* is inspired by the writing of David Foster Wallace, in particular his short story Mister Squishy. His writing examines fragmentation of thought, the relationship between happiness and boredom, and the tension between the beauty and hideousness of our existence: "fiction's about what it is to be a fucking human being." He expressed a desire to write "morally passionate, passionately moral fiction" that could help readers "become less alone inside."
“Advertising is not voodoo. The Client could ultimately hope only to create the impression of a connection between the brand and what was important to consumers. And what was important to consumers was, always and invariably themselves. What they conceived themselves to be.” – Mister Squishy