Opera If You Hate It

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The text below is taken from longer article from Opera Britannia reviewing three opera pieces at Grimeborn Opera Festival including Tonseisha – The Man Who Abandoned the World, which I produced and performed in. I like the article because it asks great questions about the work we’re making (and yes, it gave us great feedback!)

I’d love to have you come along to tell me what you think on Oct 14th. If you know my work via the Brautigan  Book Club, here’s the deal: In much the same way I’ve started the book club as a club for people (like me) who’ve never really wanted to join a book club (I am terrified of ‘real’ book clubs), I’m making an opera (actually, we’re transforming a play into an opera) for anyone interested in a realy beautiful, visceral, entertaining, provocative, uplifting experience. My team (saltpeter) and I are working in a rather innovative way with multidisciplinary artists and I am really proud of what we’re creating. Any feedback you have about your experience with us would contribute directly to the making of the work. I’d love for you to share this with me.

I know it may seem a big megalomanical to produce and star in a piece but working out HOW to work with the artists in my team is an incredibly  important process for me as a (solo) artist. I am learning so much and I am adament about pushing the envelope when it comes to working out better ways to make better art.

This article, Please Don’t Start Another Theatre Company, is a bit long but it does outline some very real concerns and provides some models of how artists can produce in ways that are more efficient, productive and rewarding.

Our next showing of Tonseisha is on Oct 14th at the Cockpit Theatre near Edgware Road. There’ll be karaoke, typewriters, Richard Brautigan, gorgeous writing and fun. This will be a scratch showing of very, very new work, so come along and give us feedback.

Details here. Tickets a mere £6 for an evening of exciting performance, music, and a Q&A.

Vera

***

Tonseisha: spellbinding theatre with music acting as an emotionally-charged commentary.”

“On August 31st at the Grimeborn Festival, three different producing organisations presented three different musical events, all derived from the wide spectrum of what is loosely called ‘music theatre’ today.

[…]

The second work in this triple bill was an excerpt from Tonseisha: The man who abandoned the world, presented by Salpeter and written by Kim B Ashton on a text by the American writer, Erik Patterson. If you are interested in debating if true opera has survived into the 21st century, this enterprise is a case in point. To my ears it was very much a fusion of different genres. Patterson is clearly an accomplished writer, but then his words were delivered in a beguiling manner by the actress, Vera Chok, with supporting roles from Jamie Wood and Sean Patterson. The excerpt started with contributions from individual audience members, repeating a line first delivered by Gary Merry about what a relief it is to wake up alone and not have to tell anyone that you love them. Mr Merry is a founder member of The New Factory of the Eccentric Actor and was able to transform the cramped performance space of the Arcola Tent into a living theatre. Brief dramatic scenes performed by the actors were interspersed with quirky, mainly chromatic musical episodes performed very ably by the soprano, Philippa Boyle and flautist, Ilze Ikse, conducted by the composer, who made his own contribution by playing an amplified manual typewriter. The theme of the ‘opera’ will be a young Japanese woman’s attempts to come to terms with the loss of her father and of the writer, Richard Brautigan, whose world she has briefly inhabited by reading his books, but whom she has never met. I must mention that even Miss Chok’s dress had a starring role. It was created by the Japanese designer, Satoshi Date, who ‘blends art and music into clothing with social and environmental themes.’ All contributions to this piece of art were made with a mix of humour and poignancy. Although I can’t tell whether this level of creativity and commitment can be sustained over the span of a full evening’s opera, the excerpt alone was both thought-provoking and transformative.”

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