Tag Archives: Euan Vincent

Imaginarium

Imaginarium

★★★

Online

Imaginarium

Imaginarium

Online via Applecart Arts until 23rd October

Reviewed – 15th October 2020

★★★

 

“The audience is the performance. The bedroom, the stage”

 

Through the back weeks of October, Applecart Arts present the Dazed New World Festival – an online only showcase of new narrative forms which explore a range of social and environmental issues; all against the backdrop of “the new normal” of life within a pandemic.

Running for three shows; Imaginarium is the debut production of Out of the Blue Theatre. The show is inspired by the social seclusion of Lockdown and uses audience members’ bedrooms as the stage for a guided exploration of space and the possibilities of imagination. Like the rest of Dazed New World Festival, Imaginarium is “Livestreamed” through Vimeo, accessible only at ticketed times. The term “Livestream” here, being a slight misnomer for what appears to be pre-recorded content.

The content and form raise interesting questions for theatregoers and academics alike. Theatre & performance is a couplet term for a collection of ever-evolving, ever-flexible art forms that intrinsically reflect societies norms and mores. That they should migrate online, seems an increasingly appropriate development. However, one metric used to delineate theatre from its innumerate modern cousins is the concept of liveness- Things that happen at a certain moment and only thern. How Imaginarium deals with this concept seemed to be the foundation of which the show’s success rested.

Director Haylin Cai tackles the problem of liveness through the imagination and physical body of each participant. The audience is the performance. The bedroom, the stage. We are asked to position ourselves in our room; to have a glass of water to hand, and to use headphones. Voice Actor, Harry Dean then takes control and begins to lead us on a journey…

First, the context of the performance is set- We spend too much time online with other people’s opinion swirling through our underused and under-explored minds. We are then invited to imagine our bedroom anew; we are told that the everyday objects around us can now be explored with fresh eyes. We are encouraged to create a new language for them, to talk to them and to explore how they might feel and relate to one another. In other words, we are live and active participants on our solitary stage. Later, we are asked to imagine ourselves as supple 8-year olds playing hide and seek within the space. It’s within these moments that the show lives up to the billing of creating a live performance based on imagination.

Moments of participation are however, interspersed with Dean taking us on a variety of journeys through time, space and imagination, aided always by confident and apt sound design of Tingying Dong. We are in one moment holding our glass of water, the next imagining the journey of that water through the vast annuls of space and time. It is in these moments when the shows liveness unfortunately disappears, and the “performance” takes on the guise of a form of guided meditation or audio book and sadly things fall slightly flat.

2020 is an exciting and testing time for theatre makers to represent. Out of the Blue’s debut production confidently meets these challenges head on with an audio journey filled with imagination and play. I’m excited to explore more of Dazed New World Festival and look forward to more of Out of the Blue theatre.

Reviewed by Euan Vincent

Main image courtesy Out of The Blue Theatre Company – this is a rehearsal image of actor Harry Dean, director Haylin Cai and sound designer Tingying Dong

 

Imaginarium

Imaginarium

Online via Applecart Arts until 23rd October

 

Previously reviewed by Euan:
The Glass Will Shatter | ★★★★ | Omnibus Theatre | January 2020
Aamira And Gad | ★★★★★ | The Vaults | February 2020
Blitz! | ★★★ | Union Theatre | February 2020
The Incident Room | ★★★★ | New Diorama Theatre | February 2020
Woyzeck | ★★★ | Theatro Technis | September 2020

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

Woyzeck

Woyzeck

★★★

Theatro Technis

Woyzeck

Woyzeck

Theatro Technis

Reviewed – 16th September 2020

★★★

 

“Although hit and miss, Theatro Technis is leading starved audiences out of theatre lockdown with this fun and quirky adaptation of a classic.”

 

Georg Büchner’s fragmented masterpiece, Woyzeck, tells the tale of a tormented soldier living in a provincial German town. He toils to provide for his wife Marie and young child. His sense of duty leads him to suffer – first at the hands of his machismo army superiors, and then under the auspices of a scientist come doctor who afflicts Woyzeck with strange experiments. All the while Woyzeck’s mental health and family life are in decline. He suffers increasingly from delusions while Marie begins an affair with a preening army Drum Major.

Director Gavin McAlinden opens with an ensemble of his expansive cast. We look in on a rowdy cabaret club. With neither Woyzeck or Marie to be seen, the emphasis creates a sense of ostracization that Woyzeck is later to suffer. Cutting through the rabble Agnes Panasiuk treats us to a rendition of Sammy Lerner’s Falling in Love Again in the first of a series of apt musical numbers. In truth, the opening scene encapsulated the highlights and lowlights of this night’s performance. The ensemble didn’t quite manage to create the atmosphere of a club without shouting over the singer. However, when they finally quieten down, Panasiuk’s beautiful singing voice provides a truly compelling moment of intimacy between performer and audience.

The manuscript for Woyzeck was incomplete and splintered at the time of Büchner’s death. It’s a sort of Meccano set of a play. Each scene can be compiled in almost any order and serves to heap ever greater pressure onto the poor wretch Woyzeck. Russell Bradley emphasises this sense of mounting pressure by tying things together with rumbling action music.

Some of these scenes are truly captivating. None more so than with Clayton Black’s performance as Woyzeck’s Captain. He flits wonderfully between shouting and sotto voce when Woyzeck is asked to shave him. Creating a strange sense of unhinged control and delivering a truly sinister atmosphere culminating in him turning the tables on Woyzeck and taking the open blade to his neck. Elsewhere, the experimental scientist – played by Agnes Panasiuk as the caricatured ‘mad scientist’ provides welcome comic relief.

Sadly, it is the strength (or volume) of these performances that sometimes upsets the emotional tone of the overall piece. The humble Woyceck, played by Andreas Krügserson, is too often drowned out by these larger than life characters, leaving ever smaller spaces for the audience to empathise with his plight. More troublesome still – sound problems frequently emerge, leaving dialogue inaudible or otherwise hard to capture. All of this led to the emotional cadence of the piece becoming a sort of free for all attack on Woyzeck, which was hard to buy into.

Although hit and miss, Theatro Technis is leading starved audiences out of theatre lockdown with this fun and quirky adaptation of a classic. It will no doubt get slicker as its short run continues, and the standout morsels alone are enough to whet any dry appetite.

 

Reviewed by Euan Vincent

Photography by Crispin Holland

 


Woyzeck

Theatro Technis until 20th September

 

Previously reviewed by Euan:
The Glass Will Shatter | ★★★★ | Omnibus Theatre | January 2020
Aamira And Gad | ★★★★★ | The Vaults | February 2020
Blitz! | ★★★ | Union Theatre | February 2020
The Incident Room | ★★★★ | New Diorama Theatre | February 2020

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews