THESE DAYS, IT SEEMS THAT AN ARTIST, whatever field he or she operates in. must automatically accompany their work with a hail of press release confetti centred on claims of groundbreaking experimentation and genre- skewing investigation of form. In the case of True. for once. the standard claims are. well. true.
The work of a new collective of artists. Fierce. True is both an installation. created by Barcelona-based multimedia practitioner Rosa Sanchez. and a performance piece scripted by Al. Kennedy and realised in the space by contemporary dance director Kevin Finnan.
‘I wanted to create work that went across the genres.‘ Finnan sa_vs. ‘This isn't a theatre piece. it's not an art piece. It‘s about trying to find new boundaries for the artists involved and new ways of combining elements. We‘re exploring as many different avenues as possible. there’s
aerial work. there are four A.L. Kennedy
Not art. not theatre but something new
12 THELISU; A..g~7 39;; :3:
'We're not just
doing something where you leave your living room and go and sit in someone else’s.’
actors in the space. and we‘re exploring all these different performing styles to try and develop an integrated approach between the strange and wonderful environment and the strange ceremony at the centre of the piece.’ That integrated approach means that art and theatre happily overlap. In the vast space of Tramway 2. an interactive installation piece is there by day and the performance happens at night. However. when you see the installation before the performance. you will view the art through different eyes after you‘ve seen the theatre. And vice versa. Confused? Don’t be. ‘The whole idea was to extend the moment of contact with the audience. Everybody. whether they just visit the installation or re—experience the whole thing. is always a participant in the actions that occur.’
True is not. however. a purely intellectual contemporary art practice. The performance opens with the death of the central character. Lucy Palmer and goes on to explore the emotional fall-out of her demise. mirroring the structure of a
classical anatomical demonstration. ‘At one level. it's a straight drama.’ says A.L. Kennedy. ‘You’ve got a domestic drama happening around the events surrounding soniebody‘s death — if she was murdered. how was she murdered. who murdered her‘.’ — and all the suspects are there. It's very difficult generally to work in theatre: there's this hang up with social realism. This is work by a group of people interested in reality. interested in things people can relate to. but not just doing something where you leave your living room and go and sit in someone else‘s.‘
To that end. the building is wired up for light and sound to become a character in itself. and the ability of the performers allied to the setting gives it all an extra edge. ‘Since we have an aerialist there. anything to do with sexuality has the potential to be in three dimensions rather than two.’ says Kennedy.
True. then. looks set to engage its audience on numerous levels. On the one hand. the piece is a genuinely novel meeting of gallery- based art and theatre. engaging the viewer on an intellectual level. On the other. the work is an engaging. affecting drama. “True is very much about trying to combine these things.‘ says Finnan. ’To look at the strength of the audience having an emotional relationship with the characters. and then also having a very cerebral relationship with the different elements going on.’
True is at the Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 1—Sat 16 Sep.