Created with Sketch.Created with Sketch.Created with Sketch.

Third Angel and Sheffield Theatres present

Parts For Machines That Do Things

I have a piece of metal in my hand. It will shortly be fitted into its place within the superstructure of an aircraft. It’s only a small piece of metal, but believe me, if it wasn’t there you’d know about it. Briefly.

A show about aircrash investigation.
A show about cause and effect.
A show about trusting technology.
A show about the parts that make up machines.

Parts For Machines That Do Things explores our relationship with, and dependence on, the complex technological systems that surround us. Systems beyond our technical understanding. Systems maintained by people as human, and fallible, as we are ourselves.


Further Reading:
Parts of Third Angel’s
Parts For Machines That Do Things
by Alexander Kelly & Chris Thorpe, in Performance Research Journal (2019).

Performed by Alexander Kelly, Jeremy Killick & Gillian Lees
Devised by Alexander Kelly, Jeremy Killick, Gillian Lees & Chris Thorpe
Text by Chris Thorpe and the company
Designed and Directed by Alexander Kelly
Co-Directed by Rachael Walton
Lighting by Chris Brown, James Harrison & Alexander Kelly
Assistant Director: Maria Joao Machado
Professional Placements (Devising): Keeley McDonnell, Michael Thorne
Production Manager: Liz Craven
Publicity: Cara Given
Press: Stephanie Bell
Third Angel Management: Hilary Foster
Publicity image by Alexander Kelly
Production photography by Michael Thorne

A Co-Production with Sheffield Theatres.
Supported by Arts Council England, Yorkshire.

Programme notes

The problem is you don’t know how it works. The good thing is, you don’t know how it works.
Because if you knew how it works, how complex, how intricate it is inside, then you’d know how many things there are that can go wrong - a lot of them very small things, minute in fact, like a wire coming loose, or a misaligned spring - that can stop the whole thing working. Because if you knew about all of that, then you would know - you would understand - that all of those things have been designed and checked (admittedly, probably not built or assembled these days) by another person. By other people. Who you don’t know. Who won’t be around when (if) it stops working.
But then again, the odds are are that if one of them did make a mistake, and you did buy the Friday Afternoon Car, the Friday Afternoon Stereo, the Friday Afternoon Smoke alarm, the odds are that someone else will have spotted it before it gets to you, and fixed it.
In fact, in this day and age, there isn’t really such a thing as the Friday Afternoon Car. Because machines do all the making. And machines don’t know what day of the week it is.

There's lots more information about making and touring Third Angel projects 2008-2017 on our original blog, and 2017-2023 on the blog on this site.