“a joyful euphoric experience where I felt drunk on energy”
I had the pleasure of attending a sell-out show by Shaper-Caper (an acclaimed Dundee based performance collective) that cast a light upon the serious issue of the AIDS crisis, and the delightfully ignorant and dangerous propaganda propelled by politicians *ahem maggie thatcher and scientists in the 1980s. It highlighted the importance of queer spaces during this time and the expression of queer love through nightlife and dance.
As I entered the venue in Dundee, I felt any stresses from my work day ease away as we were welcomed into the space with open arms. Transported to what was coined paradise. I could already feel the energy building and the act in a lot of ways had begun. “Welcome to Paradise’’ was exclaimed by the performers as they gathered at the bar, already in character, and beaming with excitement.
I felt at home and immersed in the performance as audience members were invited on the floor for the initial dance; a joyful euphoric experience where I felt drunk on energy. After we all sat down, the mood changed, lighted dimmed, music raised to a melancholic trance, setting the pace for the evening. A pleasant surprise that caught my attention as the contemporary dancing opened the door to exhibit more raw emotion and storytelling than words or narration can.
What I felt was well produced was the ease in the way the performers went through the acts, it was very natural and as they chatted between each other, something that made us feel as an audience more involved. The mix (check out this spotify mix curated from the show) was queer, sexy and haunting at times – I felt taken into a haze as I watched the dancing, as the storyline took us through a journey of emotions of elation, pride, anger, disdain, and unwavering hope.
Action = Power
This was what I largely took away from the show. That activism matters, and existing plainly by who you want to be and how you want to feel is important. But systems and the negative and dangerous reactive behaviours to LGBTQIA+ folk need to be continually challenged. Same sh*t, just framed differently in 2023.
This show is for everyone, and it was great to see a range of people in the audience, especially the older generation how would have experienced this time first hand. The theme of queer existence during this time was eloquently explored as you felt the pull of the energy from the cast. The show run has just finished for now – but keep your eyes peeled for any more performances of Small Town Boys in the near future!
Small Town Boys is funded by the @tnluk through through @creativescots Open Fund, produced in association with @dundeerep and @gardynetheater, and in partnership with @kingsdundee, @thtorguk and @dundee_angus_college.