Thursday, July 29, 2010

The sound of wind blowing through the trees

After a period of inertia, I’m throwing myself into London’s cultural life again, taking up every opportunity to experience what the Capital has to offer. This has involved stepping way a beyond my comfort zone (see One no One account below for just how far outside I’ve gone!) and trying out some different things.

Recently this led to me road-testing the “production” Susurrus, which The Gate Theatre is “putting on” in Holland Park at the moment. The apparent overuse of quotation marks here is because I’m not entirely sure that the language normally used to describe theatre applies here. Susurrus is (to borrow from the publicity material) “a play without actors, without a stage and with only one person in the audience”. What that translates into, in layman’s terms, is being given a headset and a map, navigating around the park, listening to dialogue, sounds and bits of opera.

I was sceptical before it began, but was quickly won over by the soothing Scottish voices and wonderful music. The setting of Holland Park, now moving up first place in my list of favourite parks, was perfect and the elements behaved in synch with the play. While all was well in the play, the sun was shining brightly and I enjoyed strolling past the tennis courts and cafe, but just when the play took a sinister turn and I was directed to more secluded spots, the wind picked up speed and howled around me.

The story became something dark, but there was still a beauty in the words and the music and I was completely lost in this world in my headset and far from my initial self-consciousness, I was reluctant to return to real life at the end.

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