|The Cockpit Theatre|
home of Rough for Opera
Does that sound a bit obvious, 'what the audience experience was'? Here's the fun thing about Rough for Opera. Because the work on show is unfinished, or shown in part - or even an experiment in just trying one element of an operatic performance - the audience may have a genuinely unique experience to share in return. This might even bypass the intentions of the creative team, a view racing ahead of their own peculiar fork in the compositional road. Rough for Opera is not an open rehearsal where one assumes the performance is incomplete. Rather, the assumption that the performance is fulfilling its potential to date means that the audience share the same creative junction as the artists.
Last night we saw three pieces. Richard Dodwell and Josh Spear's He/Himselfie was less an opera than a multimedia and performance-artwork exploring male identity and stereotyping through some brave, expressionist-confessional theatre. Aaron Holloway-Nahum and Peter Jones' The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst attempted a treatment of the fascinating story of Crowhurst's participation in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, a seafaring circumnavigation exercise that goes awry. Finally we saw a triptych of compositions for the polished chamber group The Hermes Experiment (double bass, clarinet, harp, soprano) in which three composers' settings of metaphysical poetry were glued together with graphic score performances.
|The Hermes Experiment rehearse in the Cockpit Theatre for Rough for Opera|
Q&As after each event were nice and brisk under the compering of Second Movement artistic director Nicholas Chalmers: though answers could be opaque, the value of having an exchange at all in a supportive forum such as this trumps all else. Rough for Opera is open to the public. It's cheap, surprising and earnest. The next one is 3 November.