Nomanslanding

Co-commissioned by Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority and Urbane Keniste Ruhr, and bringing together artists from Australia, the Netherlands and Scotland, Nomanslanding was a monumental performance installation held at Tramway in July 2017.

Featured artists: Robyn Backen (AUS), Andre Dekker (NED), Graham Eatough (UK), Nigel Helyer (AUS) and Jennifer Turpin (AUS)

Dramaturgy assistant: Irina Glinski

Performers: Jude Williams, Nerea Bello

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Smite Me Now

A film by the wonderful artist and friend Paul Michael Henry concerning the growing incidence of male suicide in Scotland and the UK.

Commissioned by the University of Edinburgh for Man Down, an event making space for art and discussion about the subject.

Performance and Music – Paul Michael Henry

Editing – Shuta Shimmyo

Dramaturgy – Irina Glinski

Roisin O’Brien – Dance

In May 2018, I had the pleasure of supporting Edinburgh-based choreographer Roisin O’Brien in developing a new work for Only Skin.

Dance dramaturgy is an area that I am curious about developing a more nuanced language for, beyond just telling Roisin to do more ‘cool bendy things’. Watch this space.

Time Dust

Dust does not help us to remember, it reminds us that we have already forgotten. The choreographic solo performance TIME DUST investigates the temporality of ruins and decay on the basis of dust. The dance of dust and mirror-fragments takes us into the fragile world of remnants and disturbs the dust which has settled on the memory of war and trauma. In search of a future, present and past are burst in the haunting sound space. The disturbing excess of dust cannot be grasped and destruction and decay will eventually gain the upper hand. 

TIME DUST’s simple movement language captures a sense of ruination and memory beyond words and speaks to audiences in affective images. The interplay between mirror-suit, dust and light creates ephemeral sculptures in the air. The choreography and soundscape intertwine and merge into a visual sound-choreography: the performer creates sounds with movements on and across the stage element which are picked up by integrated mics and transformed into complex soundscapes to which the movements react in turn again.

Directing & Performance: Peter Lorenz
Dramaturgy: Irina Glinski
Sound-Design: Martin Hofstetter
Lighting-Design: Nikolaus Granbacher

Bambiland

In the game of televised war, it is hard to tell who is allowed to say ‘we’ any more.

A solo performer struggles with words and language as she attempts to untangle the machinery of war and mediatisation.

written by Elfriede Jelinek
translated by Lilian Friedberg

directed by Peter Lorenz
performed by Jelena Bašić

dramaturgy by Irina Glinski
video by Michał Sztepiuk
with Stanley Smith

supervised by Graham Eatough
with technical support of Tony Sweeten

Performed at the James Arnott Theatre & the Glad Café in Glasgow (UK) as part of the Worker’s Theatre Weekender.

The Destroyed Room (Tron Theatre, Glasgow)

First featured on TV Bomb, 1 March 2016.

Vanishing Point’s latest show The Destroyed Room, a co-production with Battersea Arts Centre, is a show for anyone who enjoys yelling at Question Time or listening in to other people’s political arguments after one too many pints at the pub. The premise is pretty simple: three characters in a room having a conversation. Over time, gulped glasses of water become gulped glasses of wine, and the chat starts to flow dangerously freely. These are not inconsequential topics of discussion. All the biggies are here: Syria, the refugee crisis, child mortality – and it’s fascinating stuff.

The starting point for director Matthew Lenton was 1978’s The Destroyed Room, an image by photographer Jeff Wall, in which a bedroom has been inexplicably ransacked and destroyed. From the outset this piece is aware of its own theatricality. Two cameramen constantly encircle the three conversationalists –  introduced as actors and not characters – with the image relayed to a screen above the action. The audience become voyeurs, privileged to every nuanced reaction, watching extreme close-ups of those before us without permission. It presents an interesting dilemma: to watch the action on screen, through a cinematic and directed lens, or to watch the conversation in its natural form before us. As the “unscripted” conversation progresses, it is difficult not to become acutely aware of missed junctures or tangents: dropped remarks and lines muttered under the breath that just cry out for the catharsis of examination. Each character has a delicate arc, played out against Kai Fischer’s understated but affecting designs.

The Destroyed Room takes a firm kick at our tendency to keep on scrolling past images of unspeakable atrocity, choosing to soothe ourselves with cat videos and pictures of other people’s babies. It is a bold and brave production, confident enough to take risks and pose big ethical questions without fretting over the lack of easily available answers. This is big, electric stuff – go and see it, and then ask yourself some difficult questions.

 

Endgame (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow)

First featured on TV Bomb on 26 February 2016.

 

As Theodor Adorno eruditely noted, ‘understanding [Endgame] can mean nothing other than understanding its incomprehensibility, or concretely reconstructing its meaning structure – that it has none.’ This can be more succinctly explained by a fellow audience member, who, in a panto-loud whisper, declared her stance on the work of Beckett early on: ‘I just don’t understand what’s going on.’

She’s not wrong. This is an apocalyptic nightmare, where the two main protagonists, Clov (Chris Gascoyne) and Hamm (David Neilson) entrap each other with their frailty and melodramatic bickering; two absurd lives lived in uncomfortably close proximity. Hamm’s parents Nag and Nell, the excellent Peter Kelly and Barbara Rafferty respectively, reside unhappily in two dustbins – a metaphor for the care of the elderly that doesn’t require an awful lot of unpacking. The text is full of darkly comic moments – for it is true, as Nell comments, that nothing is funnier than unhappiness – and of postmodern dissections of theatricality: the play demonstrates an awareness of itself as an aesthetic work. ‘What is it there to keep me here?’ asks Clov. ‘The dialogue,’ replies Hamm.

It’s difficult to blame Dominic Hill for not being able to put his now highly recognisable directorial stamp on this piece: the Beckett Estate is notorious for its iron grip on the catalogue of works, meaning that Godot will always have that hat on, and Endgame will always have two windows, a ladder, an alarm clock to tell the end of time, and a telescope to gaze upon a world in ruins. There’s not an awful lot set designer Tom Piper can do with this, but he creates a grimy, grey hellhole that reflects and refracts misery. His decision to allow a view around the back of the set is perhaps a little distracting: if Endgamecreates a stage of misery within the theatrical stage, what is the nature of this larger stage that contains it all? Overall this is a solid production with nuanced performances of pleasurably unlikeable characters. Sadly it’s difficult to see how this piece could ever be anything more than a relic whilst the Beckett Estate continues to push back against the changing tide. These plays are big enough to have life again; how about an all female Endgame? 

Now there’s a thought.