Review: Lay of the Land
Tim Miller is an established performance artist hailing all the way from the USA. His acclaimed performances take on social justice themes, from marriage equality and environmental issue just to name a few.
In ‘Lay of the Land’, Miller charts the origin of queer love and desire from a 9-year-old’s perspective, a lifetime of battling homophobia in the US, a gay political protest orgy that brings down the government, and finally to the moment he married his Australian husband, writer Alistair McCartney, in NYC on the day the Defence of Marriage Act was overturned” – Theatre Works.
Performance art… not my thing at all. I love every aspect of the theatre, from plays, musicals, cabaret, circus performances and everything in between! But not performance art, never have and never will! Or at least I thought I never would until this very talented performer made me feel ashamed for ever doubting the place performance art should have in the theatrical world. ‘Lay of the Land’ followed Miller’s life story of dealing with his homosexuality and coming to terms with it. While that might sound like a preachy self-indulgent pitch, let me tell you it was anything but.
With a simple set (a giant mismatched map hanging from the flies), simplistic lighting states and an uncomplicated message, Miller gave you his all and left you wanting to know more about him and his story. The message of ‘Lay of the Land’, was for me at least, rather open ended. You take away what you want to take away. For me it made me realise that there are people out there in the world who have spent their entire lives with the person they love, but have never been allowed to have their love officially sanctioned by this country and many others. That for me is simply saddening and I hope action is taken soon in this country to right that wrong.
He didn’t preach, he never tried to convert you, he simply spoke. And that is the power of the theatre, and dare I say performance art?