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Tag Archive | "Bite Festival"

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Review: Circa

Posted on 10 March 2010 by Jake Orr


Circus is a difficult art form when it comes to the exploration of work and in its attempts at raising the profile of this technical art. Circa’s new work of the same name, attempts to explore the boundaries of what circus can be, although somewhere along the line its artistic director Yaron Lifschitz seems to equally have gotten lost in the boundaries.

Circa is an 80 minute piece exploring the companies work into circus, acrobatic, and physical work. It shifts from subtle mini explorations of the body, to large aerial work, yet somehow I am not convinced by the outcome. The performers are impressive, their skills are above the level of standard I have seen in recent months when it comes to both ability and energy. They deliver their acts with brilliant percission and skill. They are trained to perfection.

The problem with this performance is Lifschitz attempts are breaking apart the boundaries of the performance of circus work, with the exploration of the companies work – it’s research and development. It almost feels like Circa is a showcase of the companies work, a ‘look what we can do with our bodies’ style which leaves no room for performance narrative or substance.

Of course any performance relating to circus and acrobatic work can do without a narrative nor spoken dialogue – yet Circa needs this to piece together the various ‘acts’ together. The companies explorations of their body is fascinating, with their deep understanding of small movements of hands, muscles, limps but in the greater context of the piece, much is lost and not found.

The highlight of the night has to come from a daredevil moment between a female and male performer. The female in question wears bright red high heel shoes, and proceeds to stand and balance on her partner. This act continues as she moves around his body, standing on his legs, chest, shoulders – whilst the man shifts balance with skill and sheer muscle strength. The subtle undertones of sexual relationships between them spoke volumes – this work is clearly pushing the boundaries, giving shock and delight to its audiences. It is just a shame that the rest of the piece doesn’t work in this manner.

Circa may have proved that their skills are finely trained, but their artistic approach to a performance leaves little to be desired.

Circa is part of the Bite 10 Season at the Barbican Theatre and is performing from 9th – 14th March. Tickets available through the website.

Jake Orr

Jake Orr

Jake is the Artistic Director and Founder of A Younger Theatre. He is a freelance writer and blogger, a theatre marketer and a digital producer. He is also Co-Curator of Dialogue.

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11 and 12, directed by Peter Brook

Posted on 11 February 2010 by Jake Orr

There are times when you recorgnise that the moment that is unfolding before you will surely last in your memory until the day you die. It sounds hideously cliche when typed, but there is no other way to describe this quite possibly life changing few hours for me. As I attempt to unravel my views on 11 and 12, do excuse my apparent in awe approach, this is largely due to witnessing the post-show discussion with Peter Brook. To say that it has left me in a profound state of inspiration is not an exaggeration.

So what of 11 and 12? It is a subtle piece, that gently taps away at the issues that arise when faiths collide. Rather not faiths, but a difference of 11 and 12 prayers. It may seem like a simple arguement of should someone pray 11 times as originally set out, or the 12 times as time had changed it, yet lying beneath this is reckoning of faith against those who believe their truth, against those who believe in other truth.

Everything about this production is simple, but scratch away at the surface and hidden beneath this stark and minimal piece is hundreds of stories nestled in history and countless years of tradition. Brook brings about his multicultural cast to produce a performance that is stylistically simple but rich with meaning, that recalls conflict of the difference between 11 and 12, right or indeed wrong, and the break down of human contact over differences.

Brook is known for his taking a bare stage and transforming it by the simple direction of someone walking across a stage. Of course 11 and 12 is far from this, but essentially the same principles has been applied. With minimal setting, and the simple transformation of fabric and logs we are transported from the confides of a stage to the tribes of Africa and the politics of France.

Whilst I could go into depth about how I interpreted 11 and 12 and Brooks direction, it seems almost as if I would be naive to even consider myself of the right abilities to ‘review’ this piece… so I’ll leave my thoughts as follows:

Peter Brook is without doubt a man who understands what theatre can do for an audience, he understands the boundaries, the positioning, the power that this ‘art form’ holds. He is a master of theatre, whose life is to be admired and to be inspired from. 11 and 12 is another production that has been brushed with the fate of Brook and his insight to the knowledge he holds.

I can imagine that people will see this production and find it dull, for it is thick of thought out years worth of detail, but to witness Brooks work is something to be seen in your lifetime. Forget everything you believed you knew of narrative, plot, characters, set and props and take a moment to immerse yourself in a space that Brook has made for you, for us.

Find and enjoy the silence, the coming together or spectator and actor in the space of the theatre to become one.

Thank you Peter Brook.

Jake Orr

Jake Orr

Jake is the Artistic Director and Founder of A Younger Theatre. He is a freelance writer and blogger, a theatre marketer and a digital producer. He is also Co-Curator of Dialogue.

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Review: My Stories, Your Emails

Posted on 05 February 2010 by Jake Orr

Ursula Martinez is an internet phenomena, after her magic striptease act got leaked onto the internet. Her magic consists of a single red hanky, that vanishes before the audiences eyes. The twist is she repeats this trick between interludes of stripping. The finale is Martinez completely naked, and still managing to vanish the red hanky… but can anyone guess where she pulls it out of? Don’t imagine too hard, there really isn’t many places to hide it…

In My Stories, Your Emails, Martinez tells the audience what happened after the act got leaked onto the internet. She woke to find hundreds of emails from all over the world from people who had seen the video. Hundreds turned to thousands, and the responses she receives aren’t always the most pleasant of experiences to read. This led to her one woman show performing at the Barbican Theatre as part of the Bite 10 Festival.

My Stories, Your Emails is split into two halfs, the first, stories from Martinez own life, these are the representation of herself from her own point of view. They feature what family have said to her, things she remembers, essentially those stories that we all have inside of us.

The middle of the show consists of the infamous video that brought about the fan emails and the show.

Lastly we are taken into Martinez’ world of fan emails, from the bizarre, the charming, and the down right disgusting.

Martinez has a direct approach to the piece, her bluntness is cutting but hilariously funny. Her stories are comedic snapshots of her life, moments from her Spanish mother, her sister, her father, and most importantly from herself. They offer an insight into her world before the show on the internet. At times it is not Martinez’s stories that are funny but her reaction between them. Staring blankly out to the audience – her expression reads “What the F**k?” again, and again.

Your Emails part of the performance gives a glimpse into the disgusting attraction of men and their sexual desires towards her. Included with these emails are photos of the writers. The responses to her act, are nearly all described in a sexual manner. They portray her act as a sexual, nudity, magic act. Whilst for the best part these emails are disturbingly funny, there is a harrowing message that we take from it:

The portrayal of an ‘ordinary person’, Martinez, who happens to do a magician act whilst stripping doesn’t mean she should be placed in line of sexual forwards by men. Repeatedly the emails from fans ask to meet her, discuss fantasies and propose marriage to her.

The world of the internet has a seedy, and disturbing side that Martinez’s inbox has to endure.

My Stories, Your Emails, is a witty and funny piece for the audience. She equally blends a stand up routine, with her ‘performance’ to create an entertaining night at the Barbican. Oh and those of you who are wanting to perv on Martinez, fear not – she even gets naked at the end.

My Stories, Your Emails is running at the Barbican Pit Theatre as part of the Bite 10 Festival until 13th February, booking via their website

Jake Orr

Jake Orr

Jake is the Artistic Director and Founder of A Younger Theatre. He is a freelance writer and blogger, a theatre marketer and a digital producer. He is also Co-Curator of Dialogue.

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Review: Trilogy

Posted on 27 January 2010 by Jake Orr

Trilogy is not an easy piece to digest. It is however the most liberating and exhilarating piece I have ever witnessed in my life.

As a man watching a piece about women and feminism I struggle to have the depth and understand that I should. As a gay man however, I understand the struggling against the freedom of who you are and the under appreciation you can get for being that person. I understand the feeling of being lost in a wave of oppression and feeling as if I don’t belong – no identity. This I guess, became my appreciation for Trilogy, that whilst I am not a woman, I have an understanding of what the piece stands for.

Trilogy is a post-modern, feminist, part dance, part video, part physical theatre, part audience participation, part liberation movement for woman. It’s a lot to throw into a single piece, especially over two hours, yet somehow Nic Green as director has done so in such a manner that the piece slips through the three parts (hence the title Trilogy) effortlessly.

What makes Trilogy so special, or rather what makes it so inspiring – so talked about, has to be the nudity. There is no way of avoiding it. It’s used in not a shock factor, nor a sexual expression of freedom, it is used in its purest form, that underneath all the clothes we are all the same – all naked, all women. (Unless of course, you are a man, then you are a naked man)

The Barbican stage is full of woman, all shapes and sizes, all naked, all moving in synchronised movement. There are bits and pieces bouncing up and down, there are woman screaming with joy and chanting. There are around 100-120 women bearing all – it is a sight that I will never witness again, but for those 7 minutes – I am in a state of shock. This is crazy, I tell myself. I can’t quite believe it… the Barbican stage is literally a mass of moving naked bodies.

End of Part One.

The audience erupts into spontaneous laughter and discussion – there is an energy in the theatre which I’ve never felt before. A sense of unison in saying that we just saw something that is mind blowing.

The rest of Trilogy combines a mixture of dance movements, with video projects from a feminist discussion back in the 60′s – to directly addressing the audience and challenging them to create their own female stories, or rather herstories. It’s clear that whilst this piece is about standing up and believing in being who you are, it is also clearly not a protest or overhauling what is in place – it is about expressing a desire for women to be shown more, to be appreciated more.

Trilogy is funny, witty, clever and has a heart felt message.

Possibly one of the most important things I take from Trilogy is the impact it had upon the audience. The ending of the show culminates in Green inviting members of the audience (female only) to come up onto the stage and bare all whilst we all sing Jerusalem. On the night I was there some 50 audiences members, maybe more, bounded up to the stage to take part.

These aren’t company members, they aren’t friends or family members of the cast – these are real women, who feel overwhelmed by the performance. They too become part of the story.

Have I ever seen a performance that has empowered the audience so much that they felt compelled to get naked in front of a huge auditorium on a sold out night? No. Will I ever see a performance like this again? I doubt it. – So let’s celebrate with what Trilogy does.

It gives hope, it gives excitement, freedom, liberation, and most of all, it gives a thoroughly entertaining night.

Never has a standing ovation been so justified.

Trilogy is now on tour around the UK, be sure to look out for it. This performance was part of the Barbican’s Bite 10.

Jake Orr

Jake Orr

Jake is the Artistic Director and Founder of A Younger Theatre. He is a freelance writer and blogger, a theatre marketer and a digital producer. He is also Co-Curator of Dialogue.

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