Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Robert Sheppard's SHUTTERS at Prelude to INHABIT (at the Bluecoat) (set list)

It's What You Don't Say (That Counts)
A Performance Inquiry
Wed 3 Feb 2016 featured a performance of 'Shutters' featuring Jo Blowers (voice), Aleysha (voice) and Lizzie (movement)

This was based on a text of that name that I wrote for Jo in 1992 and which we have revived over the years, but Jo and Aleysha read the text, which was effective and affective. It's a woman's voice, often, in the poem, which was written in response to the Victorian photographs of Lady Harwarden.

Liverpool Improvisation Collective (LIC) Jo Blowers, Andrea Buckley, Paula Hampson and Mary Prestidge, offered an insight into some of the key areas and concepts which they are initially exploring as part of the prelude to INHABIT, a programme for New Dance development at Bluecoat which launches in June 2016.

'Shutters' - the poem - was first published in Tin Pan Arcadia and in Complete Twentieth Century Blues, of which it is 'Blues 21'. In the stranding of the works of 'Twentieth Century Blues' it is also 'For Jo Blowers 1', 'Phallic Shrines 3', and 'World's Body 2'. It opens:

Burnished fog of
daylight fleshes my
shoulder melts into
my gaze metal
bars to secure
the night
into the pit
OUTSIDE harsh discriminations
powder the air
with your disappearance
of light stolen
from the city
scabs of blood
bejewel each breath

On 27 May 1993 ‘Shutters’ was first performed (‘a movement based mixed-media work performed by six women. It includes voice, sound projections, steam and pyrotechnical images. It is about women, and the forms which have arisen out of the process of its making are both lyrical and violent’ (Jo Blowers)). The performers were Polly Hudson, Josephine Liesk, Tracey West (whose photograph was projected against the wall of Bluecoat), Eava-Mama Mutka, Fernada Amaral, Lisa Harley. Photography: Aeden Kelly. Nosepaint at Woodwork, Vauxhall Spring Gardens, London.

I didn't take part in that one, either, but I did in some of the chamber performances that featured only Jo and myself. These were: 18th July 1993, at Vertical Images at The Victoria, in Mornington Place, London; and on 14 November 1995 (my 40th birthday), a Ship of Fools event at Falkland Arms, London, to launch the Ship of Fools The Book of British Soil (with Patricia Farrell).

More on work with Jo here and here.