Red Herring

Diederik Peeters
Performance, 2011

A performance by Diederik Peeters in close collaboration with Lieven Dousselaere(music & sound) Sarah & Charles (set) Henri-Emmanuel Doublier(light) Christoph Hefti & Carmel Peritore (costumes) Ivan Fatjo (assistant light) Bill Aitchison & Philippe (reflectors) Rina Govers (production Management)

production SPIN

co-production Beursschouwburg, Kunstencentrum BUDA

in collaboration with Pianofabriek Kunstenwerkplaats, STUK Kunstencentrum, Kunstencentrum Vooruit and Four Days Association, Prague (CZ)

supported by the Flemish Government and the Flemish Community Commission

©Sarah & Charles and Peeters

A Duet disguised as a Solo

Diederik Peeters is afraid. He has a morbid fear of germs and contamination, is terrified of heights, or scared of ghosts and conspiracies. He suffers from severe paranoia, and is tormented –last but not least– by the holy terror of failing. Behind his back a mysterious cook appears that is pulling the auditory strings that this grotesque and anxious chicken is so eagerly trying to escape.

In 'Red Herring' Peeters presents a series of half-abstract and semi-mental scenes, loosely inspired by the comical potential of irrational and other fears. Drenched in cold sweat he tries to overcome the ridiculousness of his obsessional and paranoid traits.

Sound is his biggest adversary: because even though he is alone on stage, in this performance sound is used (and abused) to the extent that it imposes itself as a character. A duet for performer and soundtrack in short, disguised as a solo, that tries to find out whether old master Buñuel was right when he stated that 'sound stimulates the imagination more than image'...

PS. A 'Red Herring' is known to be a distraction, a false clue that is only meant to put you on the wrong track.

'(…) Pastiches of horror films, absurd stories and thoughts about his intentions with this piece are all intertwined. It's as if six different movies are running at the same time here. It's extremely hilarious, and the execution is tremendously convincing. Yet, it's more than just non-committal slapstick. In its own very funny way 'Red Herring' offers a striking picture of the contemporary confusion that you experience in a world that is persistently bombarding you with stimuli without beginning, end or cohesion.'

- Pieter T'Jonck, De Morgen, 15/11/2011

'Throughout this performance you feel the meticulous preparation: that decor (a door and a couple of carpet rolls), the lighting, the sound (almost an extra ‘actor’ in this performance), the special effects, and Peeters himself, as some sort of Buster Keaton carrying doors and playing with all his other props.' (...) 'Red Herring proved to be an odd trip: a galant, be it awkward performer inviting you to a nice place that turns out to be a maddening labyrinth.'

- Hans-Maarten Post, Utopia Parkway, 21/11/2011

'Red Herring is that wonderful and rare achievement: a show that is both pure entertainment and pure art, the two co-existing in a structured chaos controlled by a masterful performer.'

- Dorothy Max Prior, Total Theatre Review, 26/03/2013