Part part game show, part love story, part lecture exploring modern friendships.
50 hours of performance, 800 emails from angry, amused and intrigued friends and over 2500 comments from people watching via live stream later, Purge the stage show is an interactive performance lecture exploring the process of, and fallout from, Purge and examines how we emotionally and socially interact with digital media.
Purge addresses where online friendship stops and real friendship begins (and if this is a distinction that is possible or important). In 2010, Brian discovered that his deceased ex-boyfriend and best friend, Grant, had deleted him from Friendster (a pre-Facebook networking site), which neither had checked since they stopped dating in 2006. Although they had since re-‘friended‘ in life (both virtually and non-virtually), it was the discovery of this past de-friending (and impossibility to ‘reconnect‘ since Grant’s death), which inspired Brian to create Purge in 2011.
Purge the stage show was developed with support from Arts Council England.
“They say that the unexamined life is not a life worth living. But what if examining becomes our life: is that living, or just procrastinating?” Carrie Bradshaw (2004)
You Have to Forgive Me, You Have to Forgive Me, You Have to Forgive Me is a durational, one-to-one watching of Sex & The City exploring intimacy, isolation and the pervasive legacy of Carrie Bradshaw ten years after going off television. Presented in people’s homes, as public installation, and as one-to-one performances in theatre, audience members first complete a 92-question survey (adapted from each question typed by Carrie Bradshaw) and are then diagnosed with an episode of SATC which will change their lives. By hopping into bed with Brian, or even completing the survey while sipping cosmos with a strange, You Have to Forgive Me, You Have to Forgive Me, You Have to Forgive Me addresses the effect of television and binge watching on our sex lives, on our psyches, and in our shoes.
Fun with Cancer Patients is a project dedicated to raising the intellectual understanding of the cancer experience without turning cancer into something inspiring, sweet or sombre. By looking at the reality of cancer – the smells, the annoyances, the pleasures, the absurdities – Fun with Cancer Patients explores the psychosocial aspects of cancer and provides patient participants an opportunity to reflect on their unique experiences and wisdom.
Facilitated and realised by performer Brian Lobel, the process of Fun with Cancer Patients is quite simple: Brian works with a specific individual or group of patient participants and discussed what they want or need – in relation to their illness – and then works with them to create an extravagant intervention to address this want/need.
Interventions have included pop-up kitchens, far-flung car trips, hacked infusion machines, and much much more, and have provided opportunities for patient participants and our medical advisory team to speak and reflect on issues such as post-treatment anxiety, the language of illness, the development/loss of friendships, hairloss, decrease/increase of appetite, and beyond.
Fun with Cancer Patients was a major collaboration between Fierce Festival and Birmingham Teenage Cancer Trust, which resulted in both a publication and installation at macBirmingham, in Autumn 2013. The exhibition will tour and grow, with new patient participants and new actions at each site. For more information on how you can bring Fun with Cancer Patients to you, please see the Contact page.
Unexpected, quirky and provocative, BALL & Other Funny Stories About Cancer is a unique, 70-minute stage performance about illness and the changing body over time. The show brings together Brian’s trilogy of work about his experiences with cancer (written between 2001 and 2011); challenging the stories of cancer survivors and cancer martyrs that have come before and infusing the “cancer story” with an urgency and humour which is sometimes inappropriate, often salacious and always, above all else, honest and open.
The final piece of BALL & Other Funny Stories, entitled An Appreciation, is a 10-minute, standalone cabaret piece which has been performed over 300 times internationally, and written about extensively in various media.
Starting from the moment of diagnosis, BALL & Other Funny Stories About Cancer goes beyond stories of medical treatment to explore sexuality, gender and politics. Each of the three performances has toured independently throughout the world to theatres, cabarets, medical schools and galleries. In pulling the three shows together as one, BALL & Other Funny Stories About Cancer attempts to show that surviving cancer is only half the battle.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to perform a self-exam.
The full, unedited scripts of BALL & Other Funny Stories About Cancer are available, with an introduction by Oberon Books.
Please note that all of Brian’s cancer-related projects are now currently housed under FUN WITH CANCER PATIENTS.