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Violence solves nothing writes Adam Kammerling

Violence solves nothing.

(Except in films, TV, books, comics, games and pretty much every corner of culture where heroes exist).

Using spoken word, music and dance, national slam champion Adam Kammerling traces the roots of his own violence, where it found him, why he embraced it and how it affects him today.

Asking urgent questions about the role models handed to boys, two dancers bring to life Adam’s words to a soundtrack that is equal parts classic pomp and heroism with some grime instrumentals thrown in for good measure. Expect a thought-provoking exploration of male mental health and what heroism really looks like.

Ahead of the production, Shall We Take This Outside (Stratford Circus Arts Centre, Fri 25 – Sat 26 Oct) Adam answers a bunch of questions on the making of the show.

Run-Riot: What’s the inspiration behind Shall We Take This Outside?

Adam Kammerling: We love fighting. We are fascinated by it. In movies, in games, in comics, in TV. It’s escapism and it’s simple and it’s joyous. Good vanquishes evil, absolutely, with its fists, and we love it. My experience of any violence is very different, it’s horrible, it’s guilty, it ruins your day / night / Christmas, and yet the narrative of the movies was the most prevalent in my thoughts. And I wanted to explore that dichotomy.

Run-Riot: Spoken word and dance are quite different art forms. What inspired you to bring the two together?

Adam: Aggression’s a physical subject, so there was always an idea for movement. I worked with some incredible physical theatre artists at MC Theatre in Amsterdam, and they changed the whole direction of my work. I got back from Amsterdam and worked with every physical maker I could find. Saw every physical theatre show I could afford. John by Lloyd Newson (DV8) secured it for me. I loved it SO much. The body does something different to the text. We trust it more than we trust words. It allows for something immediate to happen on stage. I feel like as a poet you ask your audience for permission, as a dancer you don’t. And also, I like doing handstands.

Shout outs to John Berkavitch here, who did a lot of work to push writers and physical makers to collaborate through his own research projects. Some cool works came out of his RnD.

Run-Riot: Why is it important for you to create a show exploring masculinity and men’s mental health?

Adam: I found the narratives that serve aggression are at the heart of a lot of dark dark stuff. The notion of goodie and baddie is super-pervasive and baddies are not to be heard, or compromised with, or given space. They are to be vanquished, absolutely. Baddies can only exist with the othering of groups which gives a seemingly legitimate direction for aggression. It’s racism, it’s division politics, it’s ‘sovereignty’ and borders, it’s failures of the education system, the justice system, it’s the rise of the far right- I can see the themes of SWTTO in all of it. This show is about my own life but there are a thousand Shall We Take This Outside's we could make.

While I was finishing the show, I watched the footage from Charlottesville over and over and over. Hordes of raging men all desperate to be heroes, to protect their status quo, to exercise their maleness/heroism in the most celebrated way possible; with aggression. With fists and guns and rage. It was pitiful. The stories of righteous aggression and heroism don’t let men consider themselves a baddie. Don’t allow for compromise. Masculinity as the default setting for nearly half the world is poison. So I’m glad for all the conversations happening at the moment and very happy to be part of them.

Run-Riot: If you ruled the world for one day, what one thing would you change?

Adam: Wealth disparity. Share all the resources. I’d need someone else to fix corruption and the flaws in the human spirit. But if we can get a team together, I’ll head the disparity squad.

Run-Riot: If you could have a superpower what would it be?

Adam: Teleportation. Time is of the essence.

Or the power of all languages! Including animals. I like talking.


Ox Projects & Adam Kammerling
Shall We Take This Outside
Stratford Circus Arts Centre
Fri 25 – Sat 26 Oct
Tickets and info: stratford-circus.com

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