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Blue Elephant Theatre - Spring 2013

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Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE BLUE Elephant Theatre has announced its programme for Spring 2013 and it showcases collaborative and ensemble work.

Lazarus Theatre Company opens the season with a visceral production of the Greek tragedy Oedipus, which runs from February 26 to March 23.

In the glory of a united kingdom, Oedipus stands firm, strong and triumphant; his army basking in victory. Threatened by a prophecy that could bring ruin to all he has built, the king turns his attention to seeking out the truth at all costs. In so doing, the ruin is all his.

Sophocles’ masterpiece is the first of the playwright’s works to be presented through Lazarus Theatre Company’s signature ensemble style, working with text, movement and music to bring classic works to wider audiences.

Ricky Dukes directs a cast that includes Maria Alexe, Samantha Andersen, Sarah Barker, Edward Clements, Jack Cosgrove, Eleanor Dillon-Reams, Andrew Glen, Lucy Hagan-Walker, Robin Holden, Stuart Mortimer, Nasa Ohalet, Alec Parkinson, Martin Prest, Hanneke Talbot, Joseph Tweedale and James Unsworth.

Designed by Ricky Dukes and Max Dorey, Oedipus is composed by James Fogarty, with lighting by Rachel Smith, sound by Nick Kent and costume design by Alice Pocock.

Oedipus is followed by Glass-Eye Theatre’s new work, No Man’s Land, which runs from March 26 to March 30.

The year is 1914. In Bow, East London, Ailsa Thomas is fascinated by the blimps floating overhead.

South of the river, middle-aged radio enthusiast Alfred Moon has turned his wireless telegraphy receiver into a radio transmitter, and speaks longingly into his homemade microphone, hoping that someone, somewhere out there can hear him.

When war takes Ailsa’s pilot father away and returns him broken and shell-shocked, she travels into the skies to reclaim him, pulling Mr Moon clean out of his radio and along with her.

With physical lyricism, original live music and dynamic object manipulation, LIPSA-trained Glass-Eye Theatre (The City and Iris) create a touching and original coming-of-age tale with universal appeal.

Cath Johnson directs a cast that includes Paul Gorostidi, Richard Kiess, Alexandra Krassa, Kate Mounce and Bradley Wayne Smith. Music is composed by Greg Gottlieb.

Next comes Little Soldier Productions’ absurd physical comedy, You and Me, which runs from April 2 to April 27.

Two elderly Spanish sisters live in a foreign land against the backdrop of a battered rug and a mountain of mysterious boxes. They share an existence of outrageous defamation, tender reminiscing and pure madness, careering between affection and annoyance. But is their behaviour just eccentricity or something more destructive?

You and Me blends laugh-out-loud comedy with empathy in a moving exploration of old age and the effects of dementia.

To create the show, Spaniard Patricia Rodríguez and Catalan Mercè Ribot teamed up with director Bryony Shanahan (Bitch Boxer, Soho Theatre). Drawing directly from the actors’ cultural identities and sense of displacement, Shanahan’s adaptation of Roger Simeon’s absurd text Tu i Jo (Premi Boira Prize for New Writing, 2010) is a unique and original depiction of dementia – with a non-conventional narrative style which combines physical comedy, live music and several languages.

Next, it’s the turn of The Applause Project, a full length dance theatre experience by Joon Dance, exploring the nature of applause and how to bring audiences closer to the action. It runs from May 1 to May 4.

Part game, part performance, the audience is directed when and how to clap, drawing attention to the act of applause and asking is this when audience and performer are closest together?

Reconfiguring the Blue Elephant space to give audiences the freedom to walk around and choose their own view of the dances, Joon Dance comes to the Blue Elephant for the first time to invite the audience to share the space, and get up close and personal with the action.

The Applause Project is choreographed by Zosia Jo Dowmunt.

Little Soldier Productions is also presenting The Knight of the Sorrowful Figure. Written and adapted by Tiffany Wood, it runs from May 21 to May 25.

Inspired by the wanderings of the famous Don Quixote, two Spaniards and an Englishman re-enact the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age. It’s an epic task – which might have been easier if they’d actually read the book…

Incorporating clowning and physical comedy, The Knight of the Sorrowful Figure was devised under the direction of Simon Day (The Plasticine Men) and Aitor Basauri (Spymonkey).

Writer Tiffany Wood worked with the performers – Dennis Herdman, Mercè Ribot and Patricia Rodríguez – to create an adaptation that captures the collaboration and playfulness out of which the piece was born – whilst staying somewhat faithful to Cervantes.

As in their other shows – Pakita: Stimulating, Bitter and Necessary and You and Me – Little Soldier Productions aims to promote cross-cultural collaborations and create material that finds humour even in tragedy.

The season’s final production is The Nightmare Dreamer, a devised piece of ensemble theatre by Tattooed Potato, which runs from June 11 to June 29.

Suppose you had nightmares. Terrible nightmares. Every night. Night after night. Exhausted and distraught, where could you turn for rest and relief?

Suppose there was someone who could dream your nightmares for you, so you could have deep sleep and sweet dreams. That someone is the Nightmare Dreamer.

In this piece of devised physical theatre that explores the internal places we would rather not visit, those who use the Nightmare Dreamer’s help get a good night’s sleep, but their waking lives change in ways they hadn’t imagined.

John Michael MacDonald directs a cast that includes Gerard Alvarez, Téo Ghil, Leonor Lemée, Txema Pérez and Louise van der Post.

The Nightmare Dreamer is Tattooed Potato’s first London production, re-imagined and re-worked following a run in Washington in 2012.

For more information or to book, call the box office on 020 7701 0100 or visit www.blueelephanttheatre.co.uk/.