WINNER OF THE OXFORD SAMUEL BECKETT THEATRE TRUST AWARD 2015
The Pit. Barbican Theatre.
In 2015 we built a curious structure within the walls of the Pit theatre. 16 audience members entered this structure and attached themsleves to heart rate monitors. Their seats were fitted with movement sensors. From this point on the audiences body data drove the sound and light for the show and brought the structure to life. Each audience member was lovingly handed a reborn doll - a realistic synthetic baby. The doll slowly warmed up in their arms and their hearts started to beat in time with their own. What unfolded before them over the next hour was like the turning of the pages of a book about the human body. Played out by two performers and a cast of dolls : dolls who could talk, walk, sing, swim, dance and ride mopeds.
“Breathtakingly beautiful” **** The Guardian
“Funny and wildly inventive.. Mortality lurks behind every deftly handled, splintered moment. At a time of swingeing arts cuts, we should be grateful to the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award, which went to The Body this year. Support for work of this calibre is worth shouting about. Lose yourself in its giddy weirdness.” **** The Stage
“Hypnotic, eccentric and unsettling” Financial Times
“A creepy, mannequin-tastic exploration of the human body.
The show isn't just in uncanny valley: it's built a haunted house there and is busy making the surrounding hills ring with its riffs on the body's organs. This show focuses its considerable ingenuity on human biology” Time Out
“This fusion of art installation and performance is often both deeply creepy and perversely funny” The Times
"As scene after scene spills through the revolving doors at the sides of the miniaturised auditorium at a rate of about one every minute and a half, it felt like I was having to learn a new theatrical language.
The body is a show about bodies and it is a re-embodiment, connecting us not only with our own fleshy superficiality but with the object world that we are so ineluctably a part of. In its delirious and deranged way it dredges meaning from depths and makes it a function again of light and sound and our own physical bodies in space. In doing so it feels not only excitingly new, but perhaps also connected to set of traditions that are very old indeed." Andy Field Ephemerous
“What counts most is that the quality of the work itself, and that the OSBTTA can legitimately maintain their claim to support the bold, the challenging, the innovative.
Looking at ‘The Body’ squarely in theses terms, I’d say right off I think it’s a success. I think it is bold, challenging and innovative.
I think it deserves the money because, despite being - potentially - ‘formally’ challenging, I reckon it’s accessible to pretty much anyone. I think most people would see the point of it, enjoy it.
In a culture where we’re often crowded, often seemingly anonymous, it was a pleasure to be in a small audience, one that is small by design.
‘The Body’ reveals the age of the human in the world we inhabit. It is a show which is, in its means and in its sentiment, utterly of the present”
Simon Bowes Theatre Blog
“It’s scary and weirdly jolting, yet it’s also funny and close and tender. At the end of the show you’ll want to sit and linger and think, but you’ll also want to stagger out of the room in search of a drink.
The power-play in this production is peculiarly volatile and it makes for an exceptionally edgy show.
There are so many snaps, so many physical and visual and emotional slaps and surprises. It’s an exceptionally textured and rippling piece of theatre that digs as deeply into the audience as it does the actors and space on stage.
It feels still and intense and rich with meaning”
Miriam Gillinson Sketches on Theatre
Performed by Nigel Barrett and Jess Latowicki
Produced by Becky Darlington
Production manager Andrea Salasar
Design Myriddin Pharo
Sound design Lewis Gibson
Lighting design Richard Williamson
Technologists Tim Burrell Saward
Video Luca Fenyce
Many thanks to Leanne Cosby from the Barbican
and our mentor Franco B