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Tag Archive | "Moses"

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Review: The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other, Silk Street Theatre

Posted on 31 March 2014 by Senne Vercouteren

The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other
Don’t look for narrative! The final-year actors at Guildhall School have set the bar high in choosing Peter Handke’s silent play to show their abilities on stage: nearly two hours and completely devoid of speech, The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other (written in 1992) is quite the beast to tame. It consists of a succession of over 400 characters crossing a bare space, sometimes interacting, sometimes ignoring each other completely. They’re from all ages – from Moses carrying the Ten Commandments to contemporary businesspeople – come in all shapes and forms and bring a wide variety of moods to the scenes, all with different rhythms and dynamics.

The Silk Street stage is a wide, open space with audiences looking on from every direction. The sinister, concrete-like architecture creates an undeniably threatening atmosphere. The show starts without warning, with actors running across and disappearing as quickly as they came on. A lot of what follows is met with laughter, giggling even, as the actors take on the different roles with verve. What we see holds the middle ground between dance and theatre: the former enjoyable, but at times problematic since the performers are not dancers, the latter intriguing as the silence becomes more and more pressing. We want words and we know the actors want them too. Yet the power of the work lies in the absence of language, and of narrative more broadly. Indeed, we heed the playwright’s advice when he warns the audience that there is nothing they should understand – the play is different for every viewer.

For me, then, it is quite a fun show. What works are the absurdist elements, sometimes timed well enough to really hit the spot, including the unwrapping of a royal couple who start waving mechanically after being released or the monkey’s mask that appears a number of times. Sound and light help to create ambiances as varied as the characters. There is a general sense that anything could happen: as a study of silence, it is interesting to see how the lack of words can be eerie as well as hilarious. On the other hand, the lack of the cohesion of a story necessitates the very finest performances, the most exquisite timing and a precision that is not quite attained in this production – towards the end, the actors are perhaps having more fun than the audience.

Presented with conviction, Guildhall’s The Hour is an ambitious project. Catch it if you’re in for something different – because that’s certainly what it is.

The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other is playing at Silk Street Theatre until 2 April. For tickets and more information, see the GSMD website.

Senne Vercouteren

Senne Vercouteren

Senne Vercouteren graduated from the Courtauld Institute in 2013 and is now an emerging theatre producer, currently working on the MACP at Birkbeck. He is passionate about theatre, Kanye West and fast cars. @SenneVercoutere

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The world needs a puppet on a table

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Laura Turner

Cantankerous, moody and just two foot high, Moses might not be your obvious star of the stage. But when he’s performing a real time re-enactment of the last 12 hours of Moses’s life in his own inimitable style, what’s not to love? Oh, and he’s a puppet. On a table. Having an existential crisis. For 75 minutes. Intriguing, no? As Blind Summit’s “extreme puppetry” show The Table continues its run at the Soho Theatre as part of its national tour, it’s definitely time to find out why the world needs a puppet on a table. And Moses certainly isn’t shy about telling everyone why.

So Moses, how does it feel to be back in London?

I’m very excited to be back in London: that is to say I don’t have any feelings, I am a puppet, but if I had feelings, I don’t, but if I did, then they would be feelings of excitement. I would be dancing for joy. The show is going well. It is longer. And better. And longer.

And are they looking after you down at the Soho Theatre?

They keep me in a cupboard in the day but at night I go wild.

You’ve been pretty busy since you were last in London for the International Mime Festival in January. Where have you been since?

We’ve been all over the UK from Keswick to Brighton, Bristol to Colchester. And we did a week in New York and a night Bochum. Oh yes Bochum! Part of a wonderful puppet festival called Fidena.

How does it feel to be an award-winning celebrity of the stage?

I take it in my stride. It’s not all about fame and celebrity; it’s also about the parties and the girls. That’s the real stuff.

Are you jealous of all the hot young things off to lose their festival virginity in Edinburgh this summer, or are you happy to be a seasoned professional these days?

I loved Edinburgh last year. I’m going back for four nights only this year. I’m excited about it but there is nothing like the excitement of a show going better than you expect. So I think that is yes, I am a bit jealous!

Let’s get down to business. You’re back in The Table. Can you tell us more?

I can go on for hours. We were asked to bring back The Table and we wanted to keep developing it and give more people a chance to see it so we leapt at the chance! They have developed the show a lot – I have taken over basically. I do an hour now. It’s still mainly funny nonsense but we are working towards a narrative. At least I think we are – I get so distracted! Anyway the audiences are loving it and we are still working on it. It changes every night – but eventually we’ll get it right and then we will keep it the same.

You’re pretty renowned for your funky moves. Does a dance career beckon?

Yes I think so – perhaps a collaboration with Matthew Bourne? Or Stricly Come Dancing? For charity of course!

Now you can tell us: who is the mysterious woman sitting at your table?

If I told you she wouldn’t be mysterious, would she now…

After doing so much already, what could possibly be next? Am I right in thinking you’re heading for France?

We are taking The Table to France, Norway, Norfolk and Wales in the next couple of months. Then in August we go to Netherlands and in the Autumn to China, maybe. We shall see. The world needs a puppet on a table.

So what has St Etienne got in store from Moses?

Good wine, beautiful women, romance and French puppetry. I love French puppetry. It was the inspiration for my being. I wrote the show in French, then had it translated into English. I will perform it in English in France with French subtitles. I don’t speak French.

Moses, it’s been a privilege and a pleasure. Long may your table-top antics continue!

The Table continues at the Soho Theatre until Saturday 26 May and tickets and more info can be found on the theatre’s website here. The show then continues its UK tour, visiting:

5 June – Salisbury Festival,
28 June – Festspillene i Nord Norge,
30 June – Wyeside Arts Centre
9,10 July – Festival Des Sept Collines, St Etienne, France
28 July -Holt Festival
11, 12, 13, 14 August – Pleasance, Edinburgh

Image credit: Blind Summit

Laura Turner

Laura Turner

Laura trained as a writer with Hull Truck Theatre, BBC New Talent and the Royal Court Theatre. She has worked extensively with touring theatre company Chapterhouse, where she is currently Writer in Residence. Laura has previously written for BBC EastEnders: E20 and her adaptation of Jane Eyre toured theatres with Hull Truck Theatre Company at the start of 2013. She is now working on an original play for the theatre, as well as projects with Bolton Octagon, Middle Child Theatre and The Ashton Group, Cumbria. She has been long-listed for the Bruntwood Prize for Playwrighting and the Adrienne Benham Award.

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