Lab Rats, created by the accomplished and prolific artist Marie France Forcier is a transfixing performance depicting a study on the fragility of the human condition. The performers are the subjects, or lab rats, of this study, and the audience are the veiled observers of an experiment that had commenced long before their entrance to the space.
Subjected to the identity-stripping environment of a barren glass case, one can infer the increasing possessiveness of the objects within the case is an unconscious effort by the subjects to grasp at any form of individuality. The slow ascent to physical touch from mere eye contact throughout the work is another example of the human response to coerced isolation. We see the subjects evolve from individual seclusion to casting territorial glances each other’s way, to finally almost hostile physical manipulation of each other. This evolution of the subject’s response to one another is a reflection on the exploration of our afflictions as humans when put into direct speculation. One seemingly cannot form a connection with another when their individuality has been dismantled. Throughout the work, Forcier immerses the audience in the disintegration of sanity and will to fight the inevitable, perpetual solitude; so much so that the steady fracture of the subjects almost goes completely unnoticed until the final moments of the piece leave observers breathless and deep in thought, wondering how they would respond if subjected to similar circumstances. Can anyone truly be sure of their actions? This is one of the many questions Forcier masterfully explores without hope for a definitive answer. Lab Rats is a captivating picture of the world we live in but often fail, or purposefully forget to truly discover. What lies beneath the surface of our carefully crafted lives, and our true human condition?