BAN Q+A SESSIONS
KIM NOBLE IS A UK-BASED PERFORMANCE ARTIST WHOSE WORK CHALLENGES THE BOUNDARIES OF THE STAGE AND THE EDGES OF AUTOBIOGRAPHY. HE MAKES HIS WORK ON HIMSELF AND ON REAL PEOPLE FROM THE REAL WORLD. HIS SITES OF PERFORMANCE HAVE INCLUDED THE SHOP FLOOR OF B&Q (A BRITISH HARDWARE CHAIN), ROADWORKS SIGNS, INTERNET CHAT ROOMS AND HIS OWN SITTING ROOM. HE IS CURRENTLY TOURING NEW WORK WILDLIFE FM, PART RADIO SHOW, PART GIG, COMMISSIONED BY CAMPO IN GHENT, BELGIUM AND CREATED IN COLLABORATION WITH DIRECTOR POL HEYVAERT, MUSICIAN JAKOB AMPE AND NINE YOUNG MUSICIANS. HE SAYS HIS BOOK PROBABLY WON'T BE PUBLISHED THIS YEAR.
There comes a time in every man’s life where one has to face facts: they have to attend a Q&A session. For some this comes at a theatre, for others it may be a cinema screening or conference hall. It might even be online via the World Wide Web.
It’s a right of passage moment and aren’t that the truth.
And it doesn’t matter if you are on the side of the audience/questioners or trying to provide the Answers from stage - Question and Answers Sessions suck balls. And anyone who says they are interesting or useful is wrong. In fact, I’d go some way to already hating you. I’m going to throw ‘feedback’ sessions for scratch performances into this mix too. I hate you. They should be banned.
The undercurrent of this irrelevant fixation is my ineptitude and loathing of having to stand alongside my work and discuss it. I leave that for others. Of course art needs to be discussed, thought over and debated. (Otherwise DRAFF magazine wouldn’t exist and we can’t have that). But please do it in your own free time. Like you’re doing right now. But not on a stage right after a show/film/reading/performance. It demystifies the whole art piece that you’ve just witnessed, akin to a magician explaining his trick while he’s smashing your watch under a red handkerchief (actually I’d like to see that. Bad example.)
I’ve recently been involved in making a theatre piece called Wildlife Fm with Campo along with a Belgian director (who has amazing hair) and a cast of nine young people. With Pol, the director, having returned wisely to the EU straight after the premiere, I was asked by the theatre to sit in on the Q&A alongside the youngsters. Mother F*****! was my initial reaction.
I asked a few of the young folk what was actually going through their brains during the Q&A (a few thoughts below).
Of course we’re all given a choice to leave, we are lucky to live in a democratic society. (In North Korea I believe its state policy to force all adults between 18-21 years of age to stay behind in a theatre just in case there’s a Q&A.) But sometimes one is obligated to attend.
People who attend these sessions tend to be divided into two distinct camps:
1/ Those that attend and ask questions (these people I really despise). Normally the question is never actually a question but an ill-thought-through, sycophantic string of words that goes on and on and on. Get your own freaking show mate if you want the attention!
2/ Those that feel obliged to be there because they vaguely know someone in the show and it might seem rude to leave but they’d rather be at the bar and with each question the chest pain becomes increasingly worse.
The man sat in row C wore a foot brace. Probably for medical reasons. This was the most interesting thing during the QnA session for Wildlife FM.
I was stuck in another one in a small theatre in Bethnal Green in London, my exit to the real world was blocked and the audience’s friends were waxing lyrical for at least 20 mins on a production that at best could be described as “fuken wank”. I was sat in the back row and to amuse myself I took all my clothes off. No one noticed.
So my message is a simple one. F you Q&As and those that attend them. You are the worst of humanity.
Wildlife FM currently tours throughout Europe and there will be one more Q&A Session. When Kim’s book is eventually published he will happily give private Q&A sessions about it in his local swimming baths.