Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Symon Macintyre Drifts...

GKV: What attracted you to the beach for this production? Did the location or the concept come first?

Symon Macintyre: 
By chance I heard the story of Betty Mouat and was inspired by her courage and fortitude. In January 1886 , in a sudden storm, the captain and the crew of the Columbine were washed overboard. This left 60yr old Betty who was on a routine two hour trip to Lerwick to sell her knitting, drifting of to Norway .

When I heard the story , I took a blank page and dew a line drawn across the middle of it I sketched a small boat resting on it. This was my vision of Betty, on a line suspended between the sky and the seabed. Tossing and tumbling no up no down, between worlds with no idea where she was heading.

I wanted to share her story and immerse the audience in the experience. Put them into her head , get her into their heads and try to get them to empathise with her strength and courage .

I looked at my line on that page and realized that on the beaches was a line between land and the sea.

I could create, with the assistance of some great designers, a series of sculptures, each one inspired by a day of her 9 day journey.

The audience, one at a time spaced 5 minutes apart, would drift though these worlds isolated by headphones, listening to the voice of Gerda Sevenson singing the lyrics of Judith Adams to the music of Eddie Mcguire.

Judith wrote Ghost for me. (another headphone show) in 2005 and with its 3d bin-aural soundscape was a massive hit for the company.

Each beach we have chosen is something special an amazing location sometimes isolated sometimes a challenge to reach but always a spectacular seascape.

As an irritating critic, I like to put companies into simple boxes... I hoped I'd be able to call you 'visual theatre' but... well, you keep mixing it up! How would you describe drift?
I also hate boxes. Not just those funding boxes that say puppeteer, dancer actor artists but the boxes that imprison theatre lock it away out of sight and out of mind.

I need to create events that make things happen in spaces and in the places that you least expect it .. I spent January looking at the some of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland . 

I thought about walking along the sand ( as you do) and contemplating the seascape thinking meditating Drift just had to be on beaches .The 5 I chose were a mixture of accessible remote and stunning. ON Unst in Shetland we are on the most Northerly beach in Scotland looking out to sea .. next stop Norway. We are taking a lot of rope to tie things down in case it's windy!

We are also on Eigg which is one of my favourite places in Scotland. The ethic and the environment .

There are certain key concerns I have noticed in your work: the relationship of art to nature, getting the audience immersed in the event, the unusual theatre space.... does drift return to these themes?

Drift is on the edge of the sea and the Land. Its a place were weather is seen .. the rain clouds coming towards you the wind the sun (I hope ) are there all around you. It's a biog sky and you are a small insignificant dot on that landscape. Think about that as you walk though our installation.

I'm feeling more political at the moment maybe it s the whole devolution independence thing , I really believe that theatre that gets out to community and happens where pelple are could be life changing. I saw Chevoit the Stag and the Black Black Oil in Nairn Commnity centre in the 70s and it blew me away.

We keep back to these themes. Drift is the courage and strength of the small crofter/weaver pitted against the oceans . My next show The Last Wolf will be about Communities Land Reform and the re-wilding movement.
Outdoors stuff is where I believe we can make a big impact .

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