Human Locomotion in Prague

Muybridge and his work as a stage experience isn’t new, as we’ve seen in previous posts. But an entirely new take on the subject is now running in Prague, Czech Republic, at the National Theatre. Jesse Seaver at Huffington Post provides a review:

Human Locomotion Theatre in Prague: The Story of Eadweard Muybridge

The Huffington Post
by Jesse Seaver

2014-02-10-HumanLocomotion-thumb

Photo Courtesy Národní divadlo

The New Stage of the National Theatre in Prague is small, but once the show begins, surprisingly capable of providing it’s guests with a truly entertaining evening. The seats are a bit worn, but comfortable, and the building itself inspires architectural awe with its winding staircases, and glass walled multi leveled cafes. I am here tonight to see Human Locomotion, the latest multimedia production of Laterna Magika at the Narodni Divadlo. This iconic National Theatre house is near the city center, sits on the edge of the Vltava river and is a must for the lovers of the arts who visit this culturally rich city.

Led by directors Martin Kukucka and Lukas Trisovsky (SKUTR), the show brings more to the table than let on from the promotional flyers and website descriptions. The set, the lights, the music, the dancing and the acting were all well worth the four curtain calls worth of applause the cast received at shows end.

A beautiful, and humorous rendition of “You Are My Sunshine,” begins the melodic journey from Petr Kaleb that transports the audience, smoothly, through the use of an elaborate set and projection by Jakub Kopecký, with help on costumes from Jana Morávková. The storyline is well written, performed in a mix of Czech and English, but always with English subtitles projected. The show tells the story of Eadweard Muybridge (Marek Daniel), the British inventor who had a critical impact on the world of photography and beyond. His most famous work captures a horse running using multiple cameras, and represented the invention of Chronophotography.

This troubled man, and genius, dedicated his life with obsession to his invention, but not at little cost. As he is tormented through his genius, he consequently destroyed his personal life and marriage to his beautiful wife Flora (Zuzana Stavna). She was pushed away into an affair with Major Harry Larkyns (Jakub Gottwald), a dashing, purple tuxedo-wearing troublemaker slash magician. Eadweard eventually shoots the Major, and is tried for murder, but is let off on grounds of justifiable homicide and allowed to complete his work.

What appears at first view to be a static backdrop is transformed into a multi-story, multi-level deep set, complete with animations skillfully painted across the stage using multiple HDX projectors. The entire set is designed to be inside of a camera, so to speak, I presume so that the audience is always peering into the life and view of Eadweard. Flora and Major Henry share an amazingly well done love scene, from inside a box, again meant to be a camera, while the audience is shown the actors passion through magical projection onto a dancer positioned on a five sided screen. The bending, waving light, along with the perfectly selected soundtrack, and Eadweards’ character slumped at the far other end of the stage, made this the most powerful scene for me. An elevated, slow motion fight scene, was also extremely well done. Many examples of choreographer Jan Kodets’ masterful ability to tell a story with her dancers combined itself well with the score, which was full of emotion, and the perfect amount of space to allow the actors to intersect and participate. All in all, the production of this show was a real treat, and a great Saturday evening out in Prague.

If you are a lover of modern dance and multimedia theater you should add this show to your list to try and catch. It will show again in Prague in March and April, and if the rest of the world is lucky, it will go on tour.

Jesse Seaver

re-posted here by Stephen Herbert. More here:

http://www.novascena.cz/en/repertoar/1079.html

Trailer from YouTube, below.

Credits:

Stage – Directors: Skutr (Martin Kukučka, Lukáš Trpišovský)
Choreography: Jan Kodet
Stage-design: Jakub Kopecký
Music: Petr Kaláb
Projections, programming: Jakub Kopecký, Lunchmeat

A lecture by Eadweard Muybridge, this Saturday

MuyInvite

 

http://www.othercinema.com/calendar/index.html

ANALOG CHURCH SAT 12/8: ROURKE + WOOD + KATELUS + RADIOPHONICS +
Indulging our love for forgotten formats and media archeology lore, Jeremy Rourke & Co. debut two live musical performances, The Biography of a Motion Picture Camera and The Paperman May Charleston. Ben Wood, in the apparel of none other than Eadweard Muybridge, affords us a charmed glimpse into those halcyon days of the Magic Lantern. Doug Katelus, as Hammond organist for the night, offers his 16mm Help Keep Film Dead, on the last days of Monaco Lab. Lori Varga, as high priestess for tonight’s “church,” powers up her 4 projectors in Beyond the Frames of Light and Strange Sound. PLUS Russ Forster with an in-person tribute to Bill Lear, inventor of the eponymous jet AND the 8-track tape! AND a half-hr cut of the BBC‘s Alchemists of Sound, on the UK Radiophonic Workshop, boasting Doctor Who composer Delia Derbyshire.*$7.

[Now that's what I call a "mixed programme".]

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Little Triggers

Too late I’m afraid, as the last performance takes place as I type, but for the record there was a new Muybridge play in London this week.

This, edited from The [good] Review website:
The Good (Inte)review – Sean Rigby and Alex Vlahov
Posted by Kieran James on 13/08/2012
Soggy Arts Theatre Company was formed by final year students at LAMDA earlier this year, and over the next week they will be performing their debut piece Little Triggers (A Myth About Photography) at the Old Peanut Factory in Hackney. The play documents the adventures, inventions and rivalry of two spearheads of the motion picture industry. … To help provide a little more information about the play … we caught up with Writer/Director Alex Vlahov and one of the stars Sean Rigby to ask them a few questions.

 
Alright Boys?
ALEX: Fine thanks!
SEAN: Aye grand.
Tell us about Little Triggers.
ALEX: I guess it’s a historical black comedy. About two real photographers, Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne Jules-Marey, swashbucklers of early motion picture. They are dropped into a provincial English village in the 1880s for a Midsummer Festival competition.
Who do you play?
SEAN: I play Eadweard Muybridge. A renowned Photographer, inventor and showman who has arrived in the English countryside to claim the top prize in an invention competition.
ALEX: I’m the writer/director/coffee-boy.
How have rehearsals been going?
ALEX: It’s been an absolute pleasure. I’m constantly astounded by the cast’s commitment but I also laugh so much during rehearsal.
SEAN: Great. Alex has imbued the entire process with a sense of play and freedom. No one is precious with their work in the slightest.
How did this production get started?
ALEX: I took a history of film class at UCLA in 2009 and we learned about Marey and Muybridge before they screened the silent films. They were both pioneers in the new art form of motion-picture, but I was struck by Muybridge’s violently wild life, his murder in California, and I got to thinking about cinema’s bloody origins. There’s a culture of death and film, you only have to look at Sal Mineo or Natalie Wood or John Belushi. Following this idea after a couple of revisions, plus living in England for three years, I thought it might work better as a lie-fable. Is lie-fable a word?
SEAN: I said yes.
Has it helped being so familiar with the rest of the company?
ALEX: Oh yeah, there’s a shorthand there.
SEAN: Yes, but there are a few people in the cast whom I haven’t worked with before so that has been a real treat too.
How can people see the show and where can they find more information?
ALEX: There are about 30 seats per performance, plus standing ….  August 16th-18th, 7:30 PM (The Old Peanut Factory, 22 Smeed Rd., Hackney, E3 2NR).
Any plans for Soggy Arts following this?
SEAN: Hopefully producing more new writing. Having found such a unique and wonderful space in deepest darkest Hackney, Soggy Arts will continue to produce exciting new work all over London. I know they are releasing a short film at the start of Autumn, so watch this space.
ALEX: Rumour through the grapevine has it that Soggy Arts is dedicated to producing original work and providing a unique twist on overlooked texts. For specifics on the company, talk to Barney Mcelholm and Laurie Jamieson.
Will Do! Who is your favourite actor?
ALEX: Robert Mitchum. Tilda Swinton.
SEAN: Brendan Gleeson. Frances McDormand.
If you could have any part at any theatre what would it be and where?
ALEX: Edmund in a Wooster Group production of King Lear.
SEAN: I’d play Caliban at the Chorley Little Theatre.
The Good Review would like to thank Alex and Sean for their time, and wish them and the production all the very best. For more information about Little Triggers or to book tickets to see the show please click here.”

http://thegoodreview.co.uk/2012/08/the-good-intereview-sean-rigby-and-alex-vlahov/

Posted here by Stephen Herbert – with thanks to the [GOOD] review!

Undance, Sadler’s Wells, review

A new Muybridge-related dance piece is currently being performed at Sadler’s Wells, London – unfortunately, until tomorrow only. Here’s a review by Sarah Crompton.

Undance, Sadler’s Wells, review
Mark Wallinger, Mark Anthony Turnage and Wayne McGregor collaborate in Undance, at Sadler’s Wells.
The Telegraph
By Sarah Crompton
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/dance/8932270/Undance-Sadlers-Wells-review.html

The tendency of most dance is towards flattering beauty, towards the lovely act rather than the uncompromising action. One of the many heroic qualities of Undance, this fascinating heavyweight collaboration between the artist Mark Wallinger, the composer Mark Anthony Turnage and the choreographer Wayne McGregor is that it isn’t always gorgeous: it has the knotty complexity of an idea being weighed and examined.
The concept in the balance was Wallinger’s. He placed Eadweard Muybridge’s pioneering photographs of human movement and the verbs he made his models enact (to jump, to run, to walk etc) alongside Richard Serra’s more theoretical list of action verbs for sculpture (of entropy, of equilibrium). Then he added in “UN” – the initials that stand for a plea for redemption, a chance to undo what we have done.
This web of thought is reflected in a set, beautifully lit by Lucy Carter, which recreates Muybridge’s measuring grid at the back, and pictures of UN compounds at the sides.
It is echoed too in Turnage’s sumptuous score in eight movements, a network of oppositions, full of breezy, heavily-accented woodwind, bluesy brass, and running strings, beautifully played by the specially created Undance Band, conducted by Tim Murray.
The piece opens with the ten dancers from Random Dance Company, in flesh coloured costumes which make them look like Muybridge’s naked models, lining up against the grid, then moving forward to perform the iconic poses. A film runs behind them, slightly out of sync.


Then, as the music unfurls, so does the piece, with McGregor’s characteristically graceful distortions that fold back on themselves seeming to demonstrate not only actions – at one point the dancers run under strobe lights, looking exactly like the figures on Muybridge’s glass discs – but also thoughts. In one section they seem to push through time as well as space, as the film runs in the opposite direction to the steps we are seeing.
What we see is sometimes ugly, or angry, or confused, but it finds resolution by returning to first positions. The dancers literally do this: posing like Muybridge’s pioneers in an expectant diagonal line, ready to begin again. It’s both stringent and richly complicated.

There’s a video clip here, for a limited period:

http://www.sadlerswells.com/standalonevideo.php?video=712407530001,1224377398001&show=4016&more=1

Posted here by Stephen  Herbert

Muybridge in Three Movements

Films and New Dance in San Francisco…… (Thursday, 26 May)


Muybridge in Three Movements  

Catherine Galasso, choreographer/director
Steve Polta, artistic director/archivist, San Francisco Cinematheque
Rebecca Solnit, author

Phyllis Wattis Theater
7:00 p.m.
Mark Wilson, Motion Studies, 1995, 4 min., 16mm
Hollis Frampton, INGENIVM NOBIS IPSA PVELLA FECIT, 1974, 15 min. excerpt, 16mm
Ken Jacobs, Le Prince: Leeds Bridge 1888, 2005, 6 min., video
Bruce Conner, BREAKAWAY, 1966, 5 min., 16mm

In conjunction with the exhibition Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change, we present an evening of Muybridge-inspired dance choreographed and directed by Catherine Galasso; Muybridge-inspired short films chosen by San Francisco Cinematheque’s Steve Polta; and a Muybridge-driven conversation on cinematic space and time led by author Rebecca Solnit.

Source: http://www.sfmoma.org/events/1886#ixzz1NXeYJmx8
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

http://www.sfmoma.org/events/1886#ixzz1NUa2KpZZ

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

New Muybridge theatre piece at Stanford

Tesseract: a life of Eadweard Muybridge in 8 stages

directed by Lin Hixson and Matthew Goulish
November 12-14, 2009 at 8pm
Pigott Theater, Stanford University.

every-house-event

Guest directors Matthew Goulish and Lin Hixson return to Stanford Drama after last year’s successful collaboration with Drama and SiCa. This original performance piece, created with students, is based on photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Hixson and Goulish, founders of the performance group “Every house has a door,” create project-specific collaborative performances with narrow thematic focus and rigorous presentation.

Stanford Drama Department here.

‘Hauntings’ wins 3 Calgary theatre awards

preview_playhouse_studies_in_motion_09

CBC News reported today (25 August 2009) that Alberta Theatre Project’s production Studies in Motion: The Hauntings of Eadweard Muybridge was the big winner Monday evening at the Betty Mitchell Awards in Calgary. The news report stated:

The story of a famous photographer haunted by a killing in his past won three awards, including best production, at the annual celebration of the best in Calgary theatre.

Vancouver choreographer Crystal Pite, who created the mesmerizing movements of the original Vancouver production and oversaw the choreography of the Calgary production, earned the Betty for outstanding choreography.

Another Betty went to Patrick Pennefather, a composer specializing in electronic music, who wrote the score for the play, which recalls a period when Muybridge’s experiments with photography approached the creation of film.

CBC news.ca

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/theatre/story/2009/08/24/betty-mitchell-awards.html

STUDIES IN MOTION: trailer and reviews

mstudies55
The current production of Studies in Motion: the Hauntings of Eadweard Muybridge has been receiving appreciative reviews – and a new trailer is now online.

Reviews at Plank magazine and on various blogs, including this one,

mstudies44

this one by Julie Burtinshaw and also Dance/Theatre That Flickers & Glows by Alex Waterhouse Hayward

mstudiestrailer

With luck, the trailer may still be accessible.

[Back to The Compleat Muybridge]

Studies in Motion deserves worldwide audience

electriccompanys_couapr8

The new production of Studies in Motion has had variable reviews, but most are enthusiastic.

For all its eye-catching, technological achievements, the remounted Studies in Motion now comes with a clearer plot and more humanity..

says Jo Ledingham, Vancouver Courier, Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Probably because the Electric Company Theatre’s artistic producer Collier and artistic director Jonathon Young have established a reputation for innovation and excellence, Studies in Motion got a second chance. Kerr has done substantial rewriting, tightening the narrative focus on the play’s central character, landscape photographer Eadweard Muybridge.

The result is a beautifully polished show.

With this production, both Collier and Kerr have increased their already substantial reputations as director and writer respectively. Collier masterfully integrates all the technical elements–and they are substantial–with Kerr’s reworked script. It’s almost as much visual art and dance as it is theatre. Kerr’s offbeat humour comes through but never dominates. Everything is held in a spellbinding balance. And while Muybridge never becomes an entirely sympathetic character, he makes a gesture of such self-sacrifice that Studies in Motion transcends the cool, scientific exploration of a man’s passion for science to the study of a man, past mid-life, making an emotional breakthrough.

Electric Company Theatre can be very proud of this production; it should be seen all across the country not just Calgary and Montreal where it’s going next. Given this second chance, Studies in Motion is ready for stages worldwide.

Read more about the play here