The Arden School of Theatre
Third Year Students showcasing professional collaborations with idontloveyouanymore and In Bed With My Brother
The new theatre is a great addition to the facilities at The Arden School Of Theatre and the students are clearly relishing the opportunities it affords. The third year students have been involved in artistic collaborations with two very different companies; Manchester based digital art and performance company idontloveyouanymore and the highly innovative In Bed With My Brother. The resulting works are unsurprisingly totally different but both demonstrate an impressive set of performance skills and creative ability.
Lit By The Light Of A Thousand Losses devised with idontloveyouanymore incorporates verbatim theatre and digital media to create a really haunting and beautiful performance. Using publicly submitted memories of loss the performance speaks of loss on so many levels from the covid themes, losses of love and liberty through to themes around possible impending loss of our very identity as human beings. The students handle this material with real sensitivity, compassion and wry humour. It is a really beautiful piece that could easily translate to a touring production. The digital backdrop evokes new stars created and old one imploding and is a nice touch that enhances rather than overshadows the performers. There are several standout performances but the overall calibre of student work is impressive. The nine students on stage were worked in a truly collaborative manner and their ability to create space, pause and silence for each other in this very reflective piece was brave, assure and highly effective.
The second production was an madcap explosion of high energy that is so typical of shows like We Are Ian and Tricky Second Album from In Bed With My Brother. THE SHOWCASE has a reality gameshow element and alludes to Orwell’s 1984. This dance focused highly physical piece never lets up on pace and the students impress with their stamina alone! Their capacity to maintain momentum and keep a technical tightness in this anarchic production is commendable. The audience observes this repetitive dance and the performers enthusiastic desire to impress the disembodied voice directing them while also receiving behavioural response cues as if we are a TV audience reading an autocue. The resulting hi-velocity order starts to break down into chaos as performers falter or are cast aside or humiliated. There are elements here of a Forced Entertainment production as the music and the dance endlessly loop and repeat. The end result is funny, unsettling and provocative. This is how I imagine Squid Games might play out in a student theatre performance workshop…at least here they the only blood spilled was tomato pulp and sweat!!! Though I’d love to know if the crutch wielding performer was injured in rehearsals or elsewhere…either way a great embodiment of the show must go on!!