More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)
More immediately by far (Thursday to Saturday this week), @in_situ brings its inhabitation of place to Wandlebury :https://t.co/AXozgANsDR pic.twitter.com/htWKeVuikW— THE AGENT APSLEY (@THEAGENTAPSLEY) June 27, 2018
What I carry in my heart
Brings us so close or so far apart
Only love can make love
For those unfamiliar with in situ:’s approach to experimental drama (their tag-line calls it leading the way in environmental theatre), they do not drag members of the audience into the action – and the new show at Wandlebury does not require any prior knowledge. Ideal for those who like, as #UCFF does (with the medium of cinema), a film to speak for itself (and not to depend on extraneous material, or some explanation that should have been in the film).
It may feel odd, but, to have its effect, one does not even have to imagine that one can or has to take everything in [as demonstrated by a version of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, with one or more actors in different rooms of a building at the same time] – the show is one that builds and builds, in a way that one cannot quite explain** : precisely because, in the initial scene-setting (these are not, one suggests, tableaux), one is free to move perspective, one can follow one's impulse that the main action is to be seen / found elsewhere. (Amongst many, many others, a vague and maybe not consciously felt echo – from just being led into and through an orchard – is of The Garden of Eden : some gravity-waves that, at least, #UCFF felt are listed below.)
Such theatre, where it is grounded or rooted – avoid the words as one may – in the place where it is performed*** (work on it had taken place over three terms, the last of which was spent at Wandlebury), feels informed by other times (as if connected to them) : in this case, with frequent references in utterances to grandparents, one is certainly back to the start of the twentieth century in the minds of the actors' relatives, and therefore in quite a different age (in some ways).
What does one experience here, in terms of generalities ? A troupe dressed ordinarily (if in some sort of spectrum of pastel or pastoral hues ?) ; birdsong ; people performing familiar actions, as much sometimes to reassure themselves as others [almost as ritualistic repetitions ?], but also standing or moving as a kind of phalanx [a rippling surge of advancing, and of retreat], and attempting to be careful of each other's needs ; dappled late-evening light high on the wall behind the main performance-area…
All of these (and other things that were noticed and noted), and, in a sense, none of them – when more aware of the birds, is one perhaps less aware of the sound-design, of that actor’s gesture or unheeded / unheard speech, or of sitting with leaves of an apple-tree on one’s shoulder ?
Led, as if Dante at the start of his Inferno (by necessity) or then by having to trust Virgil, we shadily saw figures in the woodland : those represented, but were not, skiis – so what might that be about [and could we see how painful and difficult it looked to walk in them ?], or what could a man be doing, seemingly trying to drop walnuts (or walnut shells ?) into the cuckoo-clock-like aperture of a box-like resonating chamber**** ?
'If you go down to the woods', to-morrow (29 June) or Saturday (30 June), with @in_situ, had you 'better go in disguise' - or are we always in disguise, hidden even from and leaving fragments of ourselves ?— THE AGENT APSLEY (@THEAGENTAPSLEY) June 28, 2018
You'll also see apples and chairs... pic.twitter.com/orkSzALvAy
Some cultural resonances and / or sympathies (a gathering list) :
* Samuel Beckettt’s Acte sans Paroles II***** ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaGnKjla6pA
* Chumbawamba with some sentiments in their ‘Tubthumping’ ~ http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?lyrics=1909
* Franz Kafka’s Das Schloß (The Castle) and Der Prozeß (The Trial) ~ significantly, in the former, K.’s late-night chance meeting with Bürgel at the Herrenhof, and representatively, in the latter, Josef K., neglecting his advocate Huld in favour of seducing Huld’s mistress Leni, or being distracted from hearing Titorelli by the cries and presence of the school-girls
* Arthur Koestler’s The Ghost in The Machine [even if just as a title] ~ http://archive.org/details/TheGhostInTheMachine
* @TheUnthanks (= Rachel and Becky Unthank) with 'The Romantic Tees' ~ Diversions, Vol. 3 : Songs from the Shipyards
Thank you, Rachael Duthie, Richard Hare, Boris Mayger, Paul Paxton, Cyrus Pundole, Bella Stewart, Katrina Vero - alias cast / crew / sound at @in_situ !— THE AGENT APSLEY (@THEAGENTAPSLEY) June 30, 2018
A touching insight into our humanity / fallibility / frailty
* But now with closing-night interpolations.
** Although, having said which, it may partly be that – with the performers not essentially ‘hiding behind’ a text (as they might in many a play (or opera)) – so much of our relation to them is in their physicality or presence, and so there is a greater effect of human attachment both to them and to our sense of their mortality / frailty (and, hence, of our own) ?
*** Afterwards, director Bella Stewart told us that a version of the piece, using film and other media from the Wandlebury performance-space, will be given at The Leper Chapel later in the year : The Chapel and Wandlebury are both owned / managed by the charity Cambridge Past, Present & Future. We also heard, from Richard Spaul (who is directing Woyzeck, at The Chapel, from 12 to 14 July inclusive), that he will be doing a single-player Hamlet (some will remember Bella’s and his eerie double-handed Macbeth).
It felt v. appropriate to mention @in_situ [http://t.co/91jgCkn9jK] when reviewing the new film, Macbeth (2015) :http://t.co/O7wKA6jMOg— THE AGENT APSLEY (@THEAGENTAPSLEY) October 4, 2015
**** It also had an elongated and flat piece of wood appended, which resembled a set-square – was it probably a home-crafted musical instrument, whose sound, without our seeing it being made, we heard later on ?
***** But, also (and more obviously), Mouth (in Not I), and Winnie (in Happy Days) - parts both written for Billie Whitelaw. (Even more clearly, the brief candle soliloquy of The Tragedy of Macbeth, and Jacques, taxonomizing 'seven ages' in his monologue in As You Like It [or What You Will] - but somehow exempting him (and us, with him ?) from it... ?
If you want to Tweet, Tweet away here
Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)