In this performance an actor, dressed as a lawyer, reads out a will in front of audience members who are referred to as both ‘witnesses’ and potential ‘beneficiaries’ to the will. The will proposes experimental relations between people and objects and takes a playful approach to the relationship between art and memory, and between the physical and immaterial.
A ‘will reading’ is familiar as a pivotal dramatic event within literature, cinema and TV soap operas. Nevertheless, such events are unnecessary in legal terms and reside purely in the realm of the fictional. Wills could be seen as a form of legal choreography, structuring relationships between the dead and the living, and between people and objects, and acting as an utterance of love, kinship, spite, remembrance, rage, generosity or, perhaps, madness. Wills are a form of gift-giving, an instruction, a legacy, a form of succession, disclosure and confession.
Still Life was first presented as part of These Immovable Walls: Performing Power at Dublin Castle, July 2014 curated by Michelle Browne.
Actor: Mark Oosterveen
Thanks to Daniel Monk, Reader in Law, School of Law, Birkbeck, for sharing his research expertise in inheritance law and related issues.