Withered Optimism is an arresting visual spectacle about the way we live now. It tells the story of a put-upon protagonist stretched to breaking point by the violent centrifuge of the corporate world. When one day the pressure finally gets too much, his sanity snaps and he is spun off on a hallucinatory odyssey amongst the flotsam and jetsam of late capitalism.
Performed by Jack Kelly, Withered Optimism uses visual vernacular – the highly physical story-telling style which combines movement, iconic BSL signs, gestures and facial expressions – to capture the world in all its visual complexity. Combined with clown, object manipulation and animation, it is a tender comic ode to the tyranny of work and the pressures of modern living.
“This spending of the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it”
Henry David Thoreau
“That most rare and tragic of natures mistakes. The average man”
The Joker, The Killing Joke, Alan Moore
Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Jack Kelly is a writer, performer, director and animator. He trained at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris.
He has performed as a Clown with Arts Charity The Flying Seagull Project working with children in marginalised groups in South East Asia, Eastern Europe and West Africa. He has created solo shows premiered at The London Clown Festival and The Edinburgh Fringe, and developed and performed work at The Soho, The Bush, The Little Angel, Camden Peoples Theatre, The New Diorama, Wilton’s Music Hall and Theatre Delicatessen. He was a founder member of Flabbergast Theatre and has created work with Open Sky, Odd Doll, Wassail, OH Productions and Papa Vingt Sept.
As an animator Jack has created work for Theatre Senza’s response to the Migrant Crisis ‘Miraculi’ and Good Dog Theatre’s ‘Poetry House’
As a writer his work has been shortlisted by Radio Four and performed in London and Edinburgh.