a performance dialogue

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Aperghis' 'seul a seuls' at Huddersfield

On Sunday I saw an extraordinary piece of music theatre at HCMF. 'seul a seuls' There were four performers who each inhabited their own territory. Each territory was a festering and slightly dangerous vehicle for sound-making that they were partially constructing or rearranging as they went (the overall sound-world was very spectral; the whole being a collage of the various layers with the focus shifting between them as the chemistry between them changed; they also used their voices). They were gloomily lit, one sometimes using torchlight. The scene made me think of Delicatessan and The City of Lost Children, that sense of mad characters playing out their obsessions in damp,underground habitats (there was also the recurrent sound of a music box). The 4 territories were each picked up by a camera and displayed on a quarter of the screen (the screen was slightly angled, suspended in the space), one upside down. The really effective thing about the use of cameras was the way they gave views at angles that were otherwise inaccessible to the audience so the stage in a sense didn't have a front (one of the characters was largely hidden, another had her back to us at the front of the stage). The territories reminded me a little bit of the universe we built on 15th January and the way, instead of the projection being a cinematic view, it became part of the texture of the set. The set itself was partly suspended from 2 wires that crossed the stage diagonally just above head height. Someone I was with pointed out the set reminded her of Yves Tanguy but I also thought of Calder's mobiles

I was talking to Kate recently (before I saw 'seul a seuls') about the 15th Jan and wondering whether there's a way to do that in performance, whether its something that gets constructed as part of the performance, or is there all the time. Seeing the Aperhghis has given me some ideas about the way this could work. For a while I was quite keen on the idea of membranes (this was in May when I was thinking about Carol's 3D hexagon and how that could be transposed to sound) and with this set I can now see how you could suspend surfaces that can resonate.

1 comment:

Dorothy said...

I wonder whether there are surfaces that can be resonant with sound and also 'resonant' with projected image? e.g.perspex as Carol suggested is good for projecting onto?

I once used tracing paper as a hanging sound sculpture but it would also e a fantastic surface to project onto. You secure the bottom and top with rods. You can watch the rippling waves flow through it when lit from the back: you shake the rod at the bottom to produce the waves (these days I'd mic it up with a contact mic and work with sounds that can't be heard except through amplification).

I love the idea of a forest of different surfaces to project onto.

The big question however, is how to suspend surfaces in/above the stage area. If you're suspending from the lighting grid you need time and health and safety clearance to do that. Perhaps this is where a design consultant comes in. Anyway I'm keen to hear your ideas Kate.