Male vulnerability relentlessly on display in this unique solo-mask performance
A surrealist display of the harsh reality of gender politics, Absolutely Reliable! is transfixing and provocative.
Inspired by Beckett's Worstward Ho and Gogol's Diary of a Madman, this solo-mask and movement performance is a unique blend of heart and politics. In a timely response to the #metoo movement, performer and co-writer Ralf Wetzel confronts toxic masculinity head on. A surrealistic commentary on the increasingly growing yet criticised alpha-male culture, this show explores male vulnerability and unreleased aggression with tenderness.
George is a white, middle aged, middle class, middle manager desperate for female attention. Yet, just as he appears to be getting closer to his goal, George is thrown into a tangle of denial, anger and insecurity. A journey through inner demons, George oscillates between love and loss, death and birth as he questions his true desires.
Director and co-writer Lee Delong has transformed Wetzel’s anxieties and traumas into a raw investigation of contemporary gender norms. When the mask hit Ralf in one of Lee's Clown workshops, it had a transfixing power over his physicality and mind. Under the careful hand of Lee, Ralf unabashedly revealed himself. Ralf, the performer and co-writer of this piece, has been a traveller through many professions: from an electrician, social worker, management researcher to his current role as a business school professor. But, it is the study of mask work that has lead him into an extraordinarily transformative world.