Theatre performers and artists from all over the globe demonstrarted their talents at Goldsmiths, in New Cross last week for “The Works” arts event.
Running from June 29 until last Saturday, July 2, and organised by the university’s MA in Performance Making group, the event that showcased everything from dance to live art from artists from as far as the United States and Iceland.
Anna Furse, director of the MA in Performance Making said: ‘The 12 distinct pieces showcased the ‘crystallisation of the past year during which the Master students, converging from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds as dancers, actors, circus artists and live artists, have been prompted by their tutors to work through different creative challenges.”
She explained that: ‘The projects were entirely conceived and delivered by the students. The variety- we have no house style. The performances show all the things we try to be in the programme.”
ELL put the spotlight on three of the performers after the events’ final day.
Happy Birthday Lola
Actress Nia Barge from Washington, in the United States, presented in her piece ‘Happy Birthday Lola‘ a scattered female identity, in which, she said, she wanted to show “how a woman’s identity is shaped by her experiences with men”.
In her cabaret-style show, the audience is part of Lola Amor’s birthday party, which is where all her delusions and romantic scars are revealed.
Barge managed to convince her audience of Lola’s sensual understanding of past love, lust and hate when she shares her experiences of her ’summer of sin’ in Mexico or her past lovers who appeared to be ‘beautiful nightmares’.
The text or rather the actual content seems unable to compete with the virtuoso entertainment skills of the charismatic performer. Nevertheless Barge leaves her audience with a bittersweet consideration of identity shaped by human relationships.
As soon as they know me
Performers Vala Omarsdottir and Olga Masleinnikova from Iceland joined forces in ‘As soon as they know me’.
In their extremely physical theatre piece they explore adapting to new surroundings. Omarsdottir said: ‘We wanted to experiment with the human need for ongoing motion to escape vulnerability”. Creative partner Masleinnikova added that: “the intention was to sub-line the fictional process on stage with the experiences of two foreign artists meeting for a creative challenge with all honesty, disappointment and conflict, that comes with it.
“In fact we improvised a lot and learned how important it is to stick to your gut feeling and how transformation and vulnerability can be a strength.”
Omarsdottir will continue to work in London after having trained at Central School of Speech and Drama. In the future she wants to continue her research into the vulnerability of the performer and the relation to different audiences with her own performance company Maddid, which is based in London and Reykjavik.
‘Phantasmagoria’ The performer collective consisting of Minsun Park, Dimitra Varvarigou, Joe Yatsky, Patrizia Paolini and Ma Jesus Gonzalez Fuentes presented their piece ‘Phantasmagoria’.
Initial inspiration for this burlesque revue show was Baudrillard’s theory of the hyper-real and of simulacra.
Park said: “We were looking for a way to show how one’s vision of life is broken by another’s individual point of view, leading to the question of: How do we perceive reality at all?”
With this aim the collective presents a daring mix of absurd characters and sequences of scenes that have their power mainly in a strong, surreal performance. A really remarkable example of treating their subject as a critique of today’s judgemental society; the human predisposition of categorising into right or wrong is being lead ad absurdum in cleverly twisted, playful dialogues, constructed only through right or wrong statements.
However the show leaves the audience indeed entertained but perplexed over exactly what is the actual core of Phantasmagoria.
Words: Katherina Herold
Pictures: Moussa Shabandar