Sunday, 22 October 2017

Nursery Dramaturgy: Angie Dight @ Glasgow

A unique night-time experience exploring the dark themes behind our beloved childhood stories, Nursery Crymes takes to the streets of Glasgow this November.

Audiences are encouraged to wrap up warm for a promenade performance through a specially-created Mother Goose's forest...and out the other side, winding round the streets of the city centre (and in and out of the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall) as they encounter installations, performances, sound works, projections, film and some twisted versions of well-known fairytale characters.

Scotland's renowned outdoor performance company Mischief La-Bas, aided and abetted by artists of all disciplines, explores the sinister side of nursery rhymes – the ideas of authority, morality and social indoctrination underpinning these simple stories for children. If the message is sung so sweetly, do we even notice the crime? Do we ever learn to question these early life lessons?

What was the inspiration for this performance?

It’s inspired by Nursery Rhymes, which were my first introductions to art, beauty and poetry when I was a child, what intrigues now is the darkness and history behind them. It also makes me question the impact such rhymes and stories have on the morality, indoctrination and established beliefs of the young. 
The name ‘Nursery Crymes’ came from the late Ian Smith – a perfect invitation to play with these dark themes and question innocence and guilt in both historic and contemporary society.
I love promenade performance, the mixing up of different art forms, breaking down the fourth wall and the blurring of realities which is at the root of all Mischief La-Bas’ work, as well as some humorous irreverence and audience interaction.
Nursery Crymes will incorporate all these elements.
Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

Absolutely, we are real people discussing real ideas, it is a very accessible way of learning new things, provoking questions, making us think, a platform for exploring both good and bad, in my opinion it doesn’t need to give answers but rather give us food for thought or inspire us to want to know more.

How did you become interested in making performance?

As the eldest child of four I made up the games, we wore cardigans on our heads as long hair, were married to the Monkees (Mickey Dolenz my choice ) our games involved living in different realities, everything was something else, my bike was the horse ‘silver moonlight’ and we went to different lands. I nearly always made my sister closest in age to me the boy. I read a lot of books when I was young and always lived in a bit of a dream
World – some might say I’ve never changed.
Performance might be an alternative reality but the experiences are still real.
Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

There are many, we have invited Artists from various disciplines to make work that relates to dark themes from childhood rhymes or stories.  

Themes might be neglect, misogyny, religious persecution, torture eg, all these and more are found in many of these innocent childhood rhymes.
We are making work that is site-specific in that it responds to and incorporates the environment, in this case the alleyways between Osborne St and Argyle street and around and inside the Panopticon.

We are using the fabric of the buildings and lanes as well as creating our own installations.
As a promenade performance the audience will be ‘guided’ through the ‘show’ by different characters and performers, characters who should all resonate in some way with our past and possibly present experiences.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?
We generally make smaller audience interactions that tour or turn up somewhere unexpected, but occasionally we make larger scale work as well as work that incorporates the work of other Artists, alongside installations and our own Mischief La-Bas performers such as Nursery Crymes is.

Past shows that have worked similarly have been ‘Bull’ ’97-’98 ‘Painful Creatures’ 2003-4 and ‘Peeping at Bosch’ 2009 . As ex- circus folk, a big, multi-discipline, weird thing that incorporates all sorts is my dream gig. It’s super exciting, maybe the best game ever.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I really hope they will come away with many different experiences, but that they
will enjoy it and have a great night. I would like them to leave with questions that they find the answers to themselves the next day when they wake up, or even that night when they thaw out. I would love it to be an all encompassing experience for them, that they suspend belief and play along with us.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

It’s a timed experience, so small (ish) groups should be able to fully enjoy the experience. Different aspects of the performance will give or demand different input from the audience, areas are structured quite differently from each other to facilitate varying experiences, the performance will constantly change and does not have a linear narrative.

The Artists and artworks involved all have very different approaches. We are encouraging the audience to look at or appreciate the environment in unusual ways by showing it in a different context to the way it is usually seen.
We are playing in the streets and we invite the audience to join us to do the same. We will be offering a free warm tipple in the Panopticon Britannia, as well as bringing people into this amazing Glasgow hidden gem. We are also offering a social opportunity to continue the evening in the warm in Avantgarde’s function room and bar. It would be great if people hung about and didn’t feel the need to rush off somewhere else.
I hope there will be plenty for people to enjoy.

Nursery Crymes will be a very large-scale performance, happening only on 24th and 25th November, with capacity for an audience of around 400 over two nights, in staggered groups. Artist/designer Bill Breckenridge is creating an immersive on-street set for certain parts of the experience, which will also include cross-disciplinary work from performance and visual artists including Liz Aggiss, Dav Bernard of 85A, Glas(s) Performance, Junction 25, Radiator Arts and Fiona Robertson.

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