Adler and Gibb
3 – 27 Aug 2016
30 Aug – 3 Sep 2016
Unicorn Theatre, London
A re-working of Tim Crouch’s production which premiered at the Royal Court in 2014.Written and directed by Tim Crouch
Co-Directed by Andy Smith and Karl James
In preparation for the film role of a lifetime, an actor goes to extreme lengths to dig up the truth. Her subject is the celebrated artist, Janet Adler, who rejected the art world in favour of a private life.
Adler & Gibb tells the story of a raid – on a house, a life, an identity, a reality and a legacy.
From the real to unreal, from fake to true and from theatre to film, the play takes Tim Crouch’s (I, Malvolio, An Oak Tree) fascination with form and marries it to a compelling story of misappropriation and death.
Tim Crouch - (Playwright) – Adler & Gibb
What was the inspiration for this performance?
This is a re-staging of a play that opened at the Royal Court in 2014. I started thinking about it in 2010. Originally it came from wanting to write about a real person. This mutated into a recognition of the impossibility of writing about a real person. And then an understanding of the ethical issues around writing about a real person. And then a desire to think about art's responsibility to reality...
It found support from David Shield’s Reality Hunger and a book called Playing for Real edited by Mary Luckhurst - interviews with actors who have played ‘real' people.
Added to this were thoughts about the preferred state of unknowability in art. And my age-old bugbears around the political nature of representation and the problems of capitalism in art.
The story was developed alongside the form - batting both back and forth. The Royal Court run in 2014 was a large scale rendition of the play. For 2016 we are scaling down and seeing what happens. What is gained and what is lost. My hunch is that more will be gained.
How did you go about gathering the team for it?
I’m working with my old friends and collaborators Andy Smith and Karl James. They have been alongside the conversations for this show since the beginning.
We are working with mostly a new team on this iteration of the play. A designer called Charlotte Espiner - who has worked alongside Lizzie Clachan, the designer of the original production.
The Ringham brothers were with it in 2014 and are with it now. (They did the sound for my play The Author back in 2009.) Adler & Gibb has a film made by Desperate Optimists, Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy. I’ve known Joe and Chris since the early ‘90s.
The cast has come to us through a variety of directions. Margaret Gibb is played by the Dublin based actor Gina Moxley. Gina worked with us on a week of R & D last year. There is an American student in the play who, this time, is played by an MFA graduate from Staten Island. The rest of the cast has come through working with the Royal Court’s casting department.
How did you become interested in making performance?
I’ve ‘made’ performance at various stages in my life. My twenties were full of devising - in a collective company in Bristol. My early thirties were full of acting for others and feeling a bit adrift. I started to write for myself thirteen years ago when the need to find my own voice became overwhelming.
Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Yes. Ideas, obsessions, notes, free-associations, reading, dreams, more notes, hunches, books, more dreams, reading, more hunches, notes, a fog of a story, a fog of a form, more notes, conversations, more ideas, more structured ideas, more structured conversations, writing, notes, crossing out, fog lifting, fog descending, more writing, practical conversations, filling a space with thoughts in action, more writing, despair, more fog lifting, visualising, stress testing, storytelling, structuring, trialling, inviting people, talking, thinking, organising, writing, committing, commissioning, staffing, rehearsing, communicating, re-thinking, opening, sharing, thinking, fog again.
What do you hope that the audience will experience?
A story that enables some collective thinking about the world. A form that enables some collective thinking about the world. I hope the audience will feel needed and activated in the worlds both of the play and in the world.
What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
All the strategies are towards shaping an audience experience. The form of Adler & Gibb is about leaving things undone - for the audience to then do; an incomplete picture for the audience to then complete. A contradiction for the audience to resolve.
This, like much of my work, explores ideas of ownership.
Ownership of the image, of the action, of the gesture, of the performance, of the character. Adler & Gibb strips things away and offers an invitation to the audience. Some audience members won’t want to accept that invitation. This happened in 2014. It happens with all my work. But I am still determined to leave things out and make things ‘strange'.
Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
At my age I’d say it comes from the tradition of me. It comes from where I’ve come from - the work I’ve done, the work I’ve seen, the things I’ve had problems with, the things I’ve loved, the things I’ve hated, the things I feel deeply about. It’s not really possible to an artist to do anything else - and remain true to themselves.
Summerhall, Main Hall, 3 – 27 Aug 2016 (not 4, 8, 15 & 22), 5.15pm (6.45pm)