Tag Archives: Chapter arts centre

TOLD BY THE WIND – when performance is ‘quiet’

Jo Shapland and Phillip Zarrilli in The Llanarth Group's Told by the Wind

Jo Shapland and Phillip Zarrilli in The Llanarth Group’s Told by the Wind

Jo Shapland, Phillip Zarrilli and I first collaborated on ‘Told by the Wind’ in 2010. Fascinated by Japanese aesthetics such as Quietude, and intrigued by what we might co-create together, we embarked on a project which is now in its sixth year. An intimate two-hander, the production has been presented all over the world, from Chicago to Tokyo, Berlin to Wroclaw, and now returns to the UK for a short tour 9 – 17 October, at venues, below.

I am immensely fond of ‘Told’, but I have never lost my sense of curiosity about this unusual and ‘hypnotic’ piece. It seems to create a ‘time out of time’, and the reviews of the production over the years have been remarkable, and evocative, often referring to the poetic and meditative impact of the work.

It is also a fascinating process to return to an ‘old’ performance to re-stage it. The connections seem to be deeper and the work more mature. It is a privilege to observe Jo Shapland and Phillip Zarrilli reassemble the piece, and support them as ‘the outside eye’. At 52 minutes long, the performance only has 10 minutes of dialogue, the rest taken up with their delicate and precise movement work and Jo’s dance and choreography.

Phillip has recently written a feature for Wales Arts Review ‘Beneath the Surface of Told by the Wind’ and Joanna an ‘In My Own Words’ for Art Scene in Wales. Both are fascinating insights into process and influence, and well worth a look.

…at a threshold…two figures…two lives…multiple time spaces…

 TOLD BY THE WIND ‘dances’ an inner landscape. Interweaving movement, dance, lyrical text, and silence, Told invites the audience to enter this imaginative place of possibilities where two figures and two lives are always poised at a threshold…

UK PRESS:

“…hypotic…a haunting, painterly beauty…[with] the astringent purity of a haiku poem…intense meditation in movement…the performers have a remarkable presence…”  **** THE GUARDIAN

“…perfection in movement, text, staging…a beautifully contemplative sixty minutes…”    BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE

INTERNATIONAL PRESS:

“…minimal…mesmerizing…evokes both later T.S. Eliot and haiku…parallels…the work of Merce Cunningham…two memorable live performers…” SEE CHICAGO DANCE

“…Beckettian magnetic poetry…all dropped like shapeless stones into a moonlit lake of silence…Each dances the other’s absence. Both are beautiful movers…” CHICAGO TIME OUT

 Video Trailer: https://vimeo.com/170952365

The Llanarth Group

TOLD BY THE WIND

Co-created by: Kaite O’Reilly, Jo Shapland, Phillip Zarrilli
Lighting Design by: Ace McCarron
Performers: Jo Shapland, Phillip Zarrilli

Dramaturg: Kaite O’Reilly
Venues:

SMALL WORLD THEATRE (Cardigan)
Sunday 09 October, 3pm
Online: http://www.smallworld.org.uk/
Telephone: 01239 615952
Tickets: £6 (preview)

 

CHAPTER ARTS CENTRE (Cardiff)
Wed & Thurs 12th -13th October, 7:30pm
Online: http://www.chapter.org
Telephone: 0290 20304400

 

EXETER NORTHCOTT THEATRE
Monday 17 October, 7:30pm
Online: http://exeternorthcott.co.uk
Telephone: 01392 726363
Tickets: £8-£15
Age guidance: 15+

20 Questions…. Mathilde Lopez

Continuing my series of short interviews with writers, choreographers, burlesque artists, poets, performers, and everything between… it’s with great delight I welcome director Mathilde Lopez to 20 questions….

Mathilde Lopez

Mathilde Lopez

Mathilde Lopez is August 012 Artistic Director. She trained at Central Saint Martins in Performance Design, has a Master in Theatre Directing from Birkbeck College and was a founding member of National Theatre Wales with whom she still regularly works. She also teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Directing credits include: WISE (August 012/Cardiff University), CYRANO development (August 012), ROBERTO ZUCCO (August 012/Chapter), TONYPANDEMONIUM (National Theatre Wales) CALIGULA (August 012/Chapter), WHO KILLED THE ELEPHANT? (August 012/James Tyson), PORNOGRAPHY (Waking Exploits/Chapter and touring), MAN ON THE MOON (George Orange/Wales Millennium Centre and touring), DE GABAY development week I and II (National Theatre Wales/Gulbenkian Foundation), SERIOUS MONEY (Waking Exploits/Chapter), CROSSWIRED (East London Dance/Barbican Centre), CIEN AÑOS DE SOLEDAD (London/Prague), YVONNE, PRINCESS OF BURGUNDY (Hoxton Hall), HOTEL EUROPA and PROMETHEUS BOUND (Cochrane Theatre/Hoxton Hall) She previously worked as an assistant director and literary manager for Theatre Royal Stratford East, freelanced for ITV, BBC and BBC Wales as a production designer and with Carl Fillion on LA CELESTINA and 1984, both projects directed by Robert Lepage and produced by Ex Machina.

YURI, directed by Mathilde Lopez will be at Chapter Arts Centre 26th – 30th July and Edinburgh Fringe Festival Underbelly, Cowgate, Big Belly 4th – 28th August.

What first drew you to your particular practice (art/acting/writing, etc)?

The tacit agreement between the audience and the actors.

What was your big breakthrough?

I haven’t had any.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work/process?

The speed I think. That is really a question for my collaborators and audience. I am pretty sure it is the speed.

Is there a piece of art, or a book, or a play, which changed you? Many but probably the key ones were the one I read during my teenage years, Caligula, Albert Camus play, Friday by Michel Tournier and Juan Munoz sculptures, all of them.

What’s more important: form or content?

Content is always in a form. No? I wouldn’t try to separate them, will just gravitate and rearrange the different embodiments.

How do you know when a project is finished?

When I am not anymore needed in the room

Do you read your reviews?

Yes, sadly and what a slavery.

What advice would you give a young writer/practitioner?

Try not to damage yourself and the others too much en route. But work hard.

What work of art would you most like to own?

None

What’s the biggest myth about writing/the creative process?

I don’t know

What are you working on now? A site specific version of La Voix Humaine by Francis Poulenc.

What is the piece of art/novel/collection/ you wish you’d created? Juan Munoz sculptures, all of them.

What do you wish you’d known when you were starting out?

Not to loose time with doubts

What’s your greatest ambition?

To have a family and I have luckily done it

How do you tackle lack of confidence, doubt, or insecurity?

I wake up early and run

What is the worst thing anyone said/wrote about your work?

I can’t remember but there’s probably plenty out there.

And the best thing?

That I create meticulously organised chaos. My husband said that. Hopefully it was about my work.

If you were to create a conceit or metaphor about the creative process, what would it be?

I wouldn’t try, it will likely to be obsolete as I write it.

What is your philosophy or life motto?

I don’t have any

What is the single most important thing you’ve learned about the creative life?

About the creative life particularly I am not sure but about life, that it has an end. It’s true, we forget.

What is the answer to the question I should have – but didn’t – ask?

I am thank you.

 

Yuri directed by Mathilde Lopez will be at Chapter Arts Centre 26th – 30th July and Edinburgh Fringe Festival Underbelly, Cowgate, Big Belly 4th – 28th August. You can find out more about the project at the kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/august012/yuri-in-edinburgh

‘A strange and beautiful concoction…’ Further reviews of ‘playing The Maids’

 

Playing The Maids

Playing The Maids

 

We continue into the Wales tour of the international collaboration ‘playing The Maids’, gathering reviews as we go.

Othniel Smith of The British Theatre Guide felt it

‘…accessible and visually stimulating throughout…moments of disarming humour… playing ‘The Maids’ is a strange and beautiful concoction.’

Full review: http://www.britishtheatreguide.info/reviews/playing-the-ma-chapter-cardif-11227

Over on the Exeunt theatre magazine site, Tom Wentworth wrote:

‘…a fascinating piece…melancholy interwoven with humour… immersive and intuitive…’

http://exeuntmagazine.com/reviews/playing-the-maids/

And this on top of our Five star review from Denis Lennon in The Public Reviews

‘…Stunning… I urge you to go see…’

http://www.thepublicreviews.com/playing-the-maids-chapter-arts-centre-cardiff/

 

Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff

Friday-Saturday 27-28 February, all at 8pm

02920 304400 / www.chapter.org

 

Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon

Thursday 26 February at 8pm

01874 611622 / www.brycheiniog.co.uk

 

Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Friday 6 March at 7.30pm

01970 623232 / www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk

‘Stunning..’ 5 Star Review for ‘playing The Maids’

 

Regina Crowley and Bernadette Cronin of Gaitkrash, 'playing The Maids'

Regina Crowley and Bernadette Cronin of Gaitkrash, ‘playing The Maids’

The Public Reviews

Reviewer: Denis Lennon

http://www.thepublicreviews.com/playing-the-maids-chapter-arts-centre-cardiff/


If you are looking for a production of Jean Genet’s The Maids when you come to Chapter to watch Playing ‘The Maids’ you will find something else entirely, and may not get what you came for. What you will get, however, is a performance that engages and interrogates the notions of servitude within Genet’s world – a world where two sister maids play out fantasies to kill their Madame. For an audience, this production raises far more questions than it attempts to answer. It poses a challenge for the audience to scrutinise the power dynamics present within the 2015 zeitgeist. This is a refreshing break from the patronising didacticism we are all too often privy to in theatre today.
With this intercultural collaboration between the Irish Gaitkrash Company, the Korean Theatre P’yut and Wales based Llanarth Group, something of rare complexity, beauty and conviction has been created under the guidance of director Phillip Zarrilli and dramaturge Kaite O’Reilly.
“You look at me as if I am moving, it’s not me moving, I am being moved.”
The piece situates itself in a metatheatrical limbo: one minute we have one of Genet’s maids in front of us onstage, the next the same actor speaks her own name as stated very clearly in the programme on our laps. These transitions, from one reality to another, are not always obvious, leaving the audience in a constant state of questioning who exactly they are looking at, at any one moment. The way the company play with this ambiguity is inspired and had me (at times, literally) on the edge of my seat and still has me questioning the power dynamics present within the piece and, now, wider society.
All performers, including the musicians, in this production show a seamless cohesion with one another which creates an atmosphere and necessary moments of tension so palpable that the audience on the night held tightly onto any tickles in their throats to the end.
Apart from this wonderful production’s existential qualities, it serves the audience with an aesthetic feast from the belly-butterfly inducing crescendos created by cellist Adrian Curtin and sound artist Mick O’Shea, to the hilariously jarring Chinese night club karaoke of the Madame (Jing Hong Okorn-Kuo).
All this is interwoven by, sometimes subtle, humour throughout, for example when we hear the Irish sisters (Bernadette Cronin & Regina Crowley) threaten each other with a tirade of violent imagery, whilst always remaining sisterly or when the Korean sisters (Jeungsook Yoo & Sunhee Kim) display their fascination with the Madame’s beauty products with a hilarious, but poignant, childishness. These performances are all stunning.
If there is anything amiss in this performance, so much is the level of engagement that I did not notice it. Even the times I started to question any particular choice, such as the use of a distorted microphone to read stage directions, these choices were always justified later –it turns out the distortion of the voice serves a wonderful disembodied quality necessary for the metatheatricality of the piece.
This performance is something that will stay with me for some time and I urge you to see.

Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff

Thurs-Sat 19-21 February and Friday-Saturday 27-28 February, all at 8pm

02920 304400 / www.chapter.org

 

Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon

Thursday 26 February at 8pm

01874 611622 / www.brycheiniog.co.uk

 

Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Friday 6 March at 7.30pm

01970 623232 / www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk

Western Mail interview: Taking a Welsh stage drama about a Mexican artist to Taiwan

Karen Price of The Western Mail interviewed me on the cusp of ‘The 9 Fridas’ opening in Taipei.

Original interview can be read at http://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/arts-culture-news/taking-welsh-stage-drama-mexican-7679916

 

Faye Leong in Mobius Strip offices, The 9 Fridas, Taipei

Faye Leong in Mobius Strip offices, The 9 Fridas, Taipei

Q: How did the Taiwan project come about?

A: The Taipei Arts Festival has been trying to get director Phillip Zarrilli over from Wales to Taiwan to train and direct a production with a Taiwanese company for some years. He put forward my performance text, The 9 Fridas.

The theme for the festival this year is ‘ways of looking’ and my text invites us to perceive this famous artist in a different way from the usual representations of her.

Q: What is ‘The 9 Fridas’ about?

A: It is a collage of impressions and stories reflecting the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and the fictional journey of ‘F’ through the nine hells of the Mayan Underworld.

‘F’ is accompanied by a chorus of figures who, like her, are and are not Frida Kahlo, but whose stories echo actual events from Kahlo’s life – the betrayed wife, the political activist, the disabled radical, the fashion icon, the struggling artist and so on.

Q: Where did you get the idea from?

A: I’ve been obsessed with Frida Kahlo since I was a teenager, and this will be my third project in 20 years about her.

I love the fact she’s a disability icon (I identify as a disabled person), and didn’t let the perceived limitations of her gender or impairments impact on her creativity, political activism, or emotional life.
Q: The Sherman Cymru/Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru production Llwyth was previously staged at the festival. What does it mean to have productions with Welsh connections shown in other countries?

A: This text for ‘The 9 Fridas’ originated in Wales but it isn’t a Welsh performance per se – it’s about a German-Mexican artist written by an Irish playwright living in Wales, directed in Mandarin by an immigrant Wales-based director, acted by performers from Taiwan and Hong Kong!

I’m grateful for the interest in my work across the world. This September I will have three productions on simultaneously (in Taiwan, Estonia and England). I can but hope it will be seen one day in Wales. Most of my work is currently produced outside Wales.

Q: What has been the reaction from people there ahead of the premiere?

A: We sold out all performances several weeks ago and don’t open for another fortnight, so there’s been a buzz.

We’ve had a lot of TV and media coverage and three cultural commentators/critics attending rehearsals and writing various long articles about the production as a focus for the unique actor-training approach developed by Phillip Zarrilli, using Asian martial arts.

There’s a lot of excitement around the production largely owing to Phillip finally being here.

Q: Personally, what do you think you’ve gained most from this project?

A: It’s been wonderful working across cultures, with so many collaborators working from rich traditions.

I’ve particularly enjoyed observing, during the past six weeks, the training process Phillip has led the actors on – a psychophysical approach does not work from psychology, and it’s been fascinating watching the actors learn and adapt performance techniques to suit this non-naturalistic play text.

I’m always so excited and grateful to be welcomed into a different country or culture and learn how to communicate and collaborate in new ways.

Q: Any plans to stage it in Wales?

A: I can but hope…

Q: What other projects do you have in the pipeline?

A: My new play, ‘Woman of Flowers’, a reworking of the Bloudewydd myth from the Mabinogion, tours nationally with Forest Forge Theatre from September and there will be just one date in Wales – Aberystwyth Arts Centre on October 29.

In the longer term, I’m working on a new Arts Council of Wales-funded production of ‘Playing The Maids’. It’s a collaboration with Gaitkrash from Ireland, Jing Hong Okorn from Singapore and Theatre P’Yut from South Korea. It will premiere at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff in February 2015.

9 Fridas is being staged at the Taipei Arts Festival from September 5 to 7. For further details about Kaite O’Reilly’s work, visit http://www.kaiteoreilly.com

The Echo Chamber. Rehearsal week one.

Trailer One – Warming Up from Kaite O’Reilly on Vimeo.

Buy this music at

http://boomkat.com/downloads/399130-ryan-teague-causeway