Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
As the World Tipped © Jim Boweller

As the World Tipped © Jim Boweller

As the world tipped

Stade Saturdays has entertained the Hastings audience over the summer Saturdays – circus, acrobatics, dance, music, physical theatre, visual extravaganza. This Saturday, at the opening of the Coastal Currents, HOT reporter, Lauris Morgan-Griffiths, is looking forward to seeing all these artistic, visual disciplines coming together, writ large, to create the most extraordinary, aerial theatrical production about global warming,  As the World Tipped.

It begins with a stage suspended from a crane, office workers are going about their business, and suddenly the platform starts to tip from the horizontal to the vertical. Some of the performers slip off the stage alongside the office desks, filing cabinets, office paraphernalia, others scrabble to safety at the top of the stage.  Strauss booms out apocalyptic doom.

As the World Tipped ©Jamie Williams

As the World Tipped ©Jamie Williams

And then all hell breaks loose. Film is projected onto the vertical plane. The actors fight for their lives: they burst through fire, run through rain, flee from tsunami, swim through floods, fall into exploding galaxies. And experience drought. They crawl along a white line – an escalating, carbon dioxide graph, they are almost wrapped up and trapped by large, unintelligible scrolls of text. They climb through windows, run over New York cityscape, fly over traffic jams of cars.  Scenes of conspicuous consumption, consumer excess, our material world.

All that is a rather feeble word sketch to describe what is a sensual explosion – an assault on the senses – visual, sound, colour, balletic and gravity defying. It is dramatic, scary, amazing, disturbing and confusing; it bombards all the senses, seduces with its beauty while embedding question marks in our minds about  our effects on our environment.

The people responsible for this extravaganza is Wired Aerial Theatre co-artistic director Wendy Hesketh-Ogilvie and writer, director Nigel Jamieson.

As the World Tipped ©

As the World Tipped ©

It is a fortuitous marriage. Wired Aerial Theatre performed at the 02 Arena, at the Lord of the Rings première. Nigel Jamieson specialises in large scale ceremonies – The Sydney Olympic Opening Ceremony, the Australian Millennium Broadcast there dancers performed on the Sydney Opera house roofs. The link between the two was forged working together during   Liverpool’s City of Culture  where Jamieson met Wendy Hesketh-Ogilvie and her husband, Technical Director, James Ogilvie and they knew one day not that they would work together, but that they had to work together.

The opportunity came about when the arts organisation Without Walls was looking for commissions and James had the inspired idea of using a crane.  Wendy at first thought he had lost the plot. “But when I realised he was serious, the idea of hanging a stage from a crane freed us up to perform anywhere. Previously we had been limited to where we  could perform – there are not that many high buildings with space to accommodate an audience.”

And from that moment the creative synapses were sparking. Jamieson came up with the story line. It was up to Wendy to choreograph movement that could dovetail into the action.  Film-makers were co-opted, music commissioned, animators brought in.  They worked in a vast warehouse in Liverpool, rehearsing the aerialists alongside the visuals and music, experimenting, scrapping things, instigating new film, new techniques. And all that creativity worked remotely – with Jamieson in Australia and Wendy in Liverpool.

The whole show came together in a staggering six weeks. Together these two companies  have taken aerial pyrotechnics and made it into something other.  They have intertwined a narrative about the effects of global warming –  on us and the world around us.

The whole performance is extreme acrobatics, very unforgiving on the body.  Training is rigorous, safety is paramount.  They rehearse exhaustively and warm up is essential. But the pleasure and delight in Wendy’s voice about the performance is unmistakeable.

“It is difficult to dovetail theatre and acrobatics and I don’t think it has been done before.  I think we have successfully interwoven  a narrative with physicality.  There is something for everyone – young and old – music, animation, dance, acrobatics and hopefully they will take away an emotional understanding of the effects of global warming.”  After all everyone loves a story.

A small company with big ideas. Now that they have surprised themselves and audiences who knows what will follow. Go and see it. We are lucky to have them here in Hastings.

Post Script

As the World Tipped 3

As the World Tipped 3

The global warming message does not stop with the production; the company has taken global warming to their heart.  They have incorporated many eco-friendly devices into the company strategy –  small and large they want to make a difference. Recycling, sustainability, eco-friendly ways are close to Hastings and St Leonards hearts.

Eco-friendly suggestions from Julie’s Bicycle:
Use public transport. Insulate your homes. On a sunny day, dry your washing outside. Start your own compost heap. Buy your produce from local shops. Recyle.  Repair things, rather than throw them away. Grow your own food. Join a local community group and help your town come eco-friendly. Things that many of us are doing already.

Coastal Currents runs from 21 September–6 October
As the World Tipped  is this Saturday, 21 September, at 7.30 pm at the Stade Open Space


Posted 07:39 Tuesday, Sep 17, 2013 In: Performance

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