Left: Natura Morte Right: both images from Derevo’s Ketzal NATURA MORTE

A s partnerships go, it couldn’t be more perfect. One of Scotland’s most unusual and atmospheric venues effectively handing over the keys to two of the world’s most unconventional theatre companies. What the performance will look like is still anyone’s guess, but one thing’s for sure, when Derevo and Akhe start running wild around the Arches, it won’t be dull.

Advertised as taking place in ‘parts of the Arches never seen before’, Natura Morte will be a promenade performance like no other. Both Dresden-based Derevo and Akhe from St Petersburg are known quantities in Scotland, having dazzled, amused and confused audiences with their innovative dance and physical theatre. But never before have the two forces come together in a UK theatre. Now,

along with six Scottish performers hand-picked by the new Conflux project, both companies will fill the Arches with dance, theatre, music and their own special brand of bizarreness.

‘I was desperate to perform in it myself and am still deeply jealous of everybody who is,’ says Al Seed, former artist-in-residence at the Arches and now artistic director of Conflux. ‘But it’s just not the best use of my time. My job is as a middle man between Derevo, Akhe and the Scottish performers, and assistant directing when required. So I’m very much part of the process, but still jealous I can’t get up and have a wiggle. But it’s just great that the project is happening.’ While we’ll miss Seed’s absence as a performer, his input is still invaluable. Having spent so many years performing and directing

at the Arches, he knows the space inside out. And these days, there is more to the building than ever before. Standing in a dark, creepy room, deep in the bowels beneath Glasgow’s Central Station, it’s not hard to imagine the fun Derevo will have with the venue. ‘This derelict space was opened up quite recently,’ explains Seed as we explore the rooms. ‘And it’s a lot more grungy than upstairs. It used to be completely out of bounds, but now it’s a lot easier to get to.’ So, with the usual Arches performance spaces to play with, plus the new basement, the two visiting companies should be spoilt for choice although Seed is convinced they won’t stop there. ‘I have no doubt they’ll want to go into the plant rooms with all the wires, or find a particularly interesting toilet cubicle to use.

5–19 Nov 2009 THE LIST 23