MCA: Speak Bitterness by Tim Etchells/Forced Entertainment

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Speak Bitterness

Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) – MCA Stage
220 E Chicago Ave
Sat Feb 20. 4:00pm – 10:00pm

Purchase tickets here

Tim Etchells Artist Talk: Thurs Feb. 18 at 163 E. Pearson (inside the Water Works building along Michigan Ave.)
Co-Presented with League of Chicago Theatres


For over 30 years Forced Entertainment has made formative works of theater, performances, installations and other media expressions that search for identity in a fractured uncertain world. Based in Sheffield, England and acclaimed internationally as one of the most important devised theater companies in the world, Forced Entertainment is a group of six artists who make theater and performance works, as well as installations, site-specific pieces, books, web projects and more. Their artistic director Tim Etchells writes for and with the performance collective, and for his own print and online projects. and makes text-driven visual art.

Describing their work, they state, “We started working together in 1984; in the many projects we’ve created since then we’ve made lists, played games, spoken gibberish, stayed silent, made a mess, dressed up, stripped down, confessed to it all, performed magic tricks, told jokes, clowned around, played dead, got drunk, told stories and performed for six, twelve and even 24 hours at a stretch. We’ve worked on texts, we’ve danced and moved, we’ve fixed things meticulously, we’ve improvised. We’ve made serious work that turned out to be comical, and comical work that turned out to be deadly serious, digging deep into theatre and performance, thinking about what those things might be for us and what kinds of dialogue they can open with contemporary audiences.”
Inspired by their broad-ranging and memorable inquiries, this February MCA Chicago presents a special focus on the works of Tim Etchells and Forced Entertainment. Over the course of two concentrated weeks, MCA presents two theater pieces, two durational performances, a web project, visual artworks and more.


Speak Bitterness, is in essence a line of people making confessions from behind a long table. Occupying a brightly lit space, the performers take turns reading from the text that is strewn across the table. In this 6 hour show audience members are free to step in and out of the space, listening to six actors dressed as corporate leaders, confessing the most horrific, amusing, or convincing things

“A beautifully simple idea, beautifully developed to create something clever, funny, mind-bending and profoundly humane.”- The Scotsman

Image credit: Photo credits (for all photos): Hugo Glendinning

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