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COW is a one man show performed by Back to Back ensemble member Mark Deans. COW places one man as the victim of theatrical technology and its omnipresent operator – it is a surreal slapstick anti-adventure.


Cow. Image: Jeff Busby

In form COW utilizes sub tone frequencies to manipulate physical objects within the performing space. The kinetic effect becomes the basis for a ‘vaudeville’ style routine presented by Mark. The strength of the performance lies with the incredible ability of Mark as a performer, the content of the show becoming a vehicle for the actor/audience relationship.

COW is a highly accessible and universal work, suitable to an audience of diverse age ranges and cultural back grounds. It is micro scale yet cinematic in its presentation. Audiences have responded to the simplicity, uniqueness and unpredictability of the show and the performance craft of Mark Deans.

This non-text based performance was developed as part of the 2000 Back to Back program, and is one of three short works collectively titled DOG FARM. DOG FARM carries the audience on a journey to an uncertain territory of art and pornography, sexuality and disability, animals and humanity. Each part of DOG FARM explores either a personal hunger or idiosyncratic viewpoint of contemporary society.

COW premiered at La Mama, Melbourne in September 2000. Since its premiere, Back to Back has presented COW at the 2000 Geelong Fringe Festival, Odeon Theatre Adelaide 2000; Hothouse Theatre, Albury 2001; Potato Shed, Drysdale 2001; Australian Performing Arts Market 2002; the 2002 Shepparton Arts Festival, and the 2002 Almagro International Festival of Theatre for Disabled Artists.

  • Director/Devisor Bruce Gladwin
  • Performer/Devisor Mark Deans
  • Composer Hugh Covill