It does so by exploring the dramatic ramifications of the sound patterning in the language of the play, to expose the sound-world Shakespeare creates through sonic patterning in poetry.
The performance draws exclusively on text from The Tempest. We expose the 'verbal music' of the text and juxtapose this against some of the little-known original vocal music for the play written by Shakespeare’s colleague, the composer Robert Johnson. We've researched other surviving music by Johnson to reconstruct a more complete indicative original score for the play.
We’re using digital/video art through live projection to explore and expose the sonic patterning of the language visually, and the diffusion of the Prospero persona beyond the confines of the body of the actor who ‘plays’ him.
This performance is a case-study for the research undertaken in recent years by director Christopher Hurrell in collaboration with the actor Gerrard McArthur (The Wrestling School) into the somatic implications of sound in the language of Shakespeare. The vocal music is sung by the Australian counter-tenor Russell Harcourt, with digital art by Ben Glover.
Thanks to the support of London Theatre Workshop, we have the opportunity to develop and present this work-in-progress performance on April 13th and 14th in the heart of London. We are testing the concept's poential for further development as a touring multi-media work for theatre.
To take advantage of this opportunity we need your support.
Your donation will enable us to access the technical equipment and labour needed to realise our vision, as well as covering some of the costs incurred by the artists involved in the project.
In no other play of Shakespeare, is the action, and even the disposition of the other characters so utterly the construction of the central protagonist. Shakespeare uses the device of a ‘stage magician’ – a Faustian necromancer, to explore a single character through all the stage action of the drama. It’s not too fanciful to suggest that the entire enchanted island is a landscape of Prospero’s mind.
This expressionist approach to characterisation is fuelled by the most knotted, ornate and ethereal language in the Shakespearean canon. That language creates a sound world that is simultaneously the world of the island, and sonic portrait of Prospero’s mind – his dreaming.
Shakespeare’s devotion to sound-patterning in language – to the verbal-music, is given a level of power and freedom to dominate the theatrical experience in his last play, especially in the words he gives to his last protagonist – that makes it truly an experimental drama.
GERRARD MCARTHUR's work in theatre includes two long associations: first with the Glasgow Citizens, where he was Strindberg’s The Father, and took the lead in plays by Pinter, Gertrude Stein, Heiner Muller and Botho Strauss, for a group of international opera designers from the powerhouse years of ENO, who were invited up to the Citz by Phillip Prowse for what was often their first ever design & direction of plays; it was an incredibly bold and brilliant adventure. The second association has been as an actor, and then also as director, for The Wrestling School, (TWS), the company dedicated to producing the work of one living author, Howard Barker. His TWS direction includes Barker’s The Dying of Today at the Arcola; and Hurts Given and Received at Riverside Studios (best director nomination 2010 Off West End Awards); last year he co-directed with Howard Barker a french-language production of Barker's 'Innocence', in Lyons. Other direction includes: Heiner Muller’s Quartet at the Queen’s, Adelaide; and, with Stewart Laing, directing Leigh Bowery in The Difﬁculty of Sexpressing Oneself, at Glasgow Tramway. As a TWS actor he played the protagonist Priest in Barker’s 8-hour epic The Ecstatic Bible at Adelaide International Festival & Vanya in (Uncle) Vanya at Goebbel's favourite (Art Deco) theatre, the Hebbel Theatre, Berlin; He has vivid memories at the same theatre the next year of playing Prospero in The Tempest for Romanian director Silviu Purcurete there, taking it on to the Tokyo Globe, and further north in Japan, to Sapporo, which was melting; & likewise great experiences playing The Hanging Man for Improbable at Sydney Opera House; and with incredible pleasure, Coward's Present Laughter, with the late, great, Rik Mayall. Gerrard has appeared in various TV and Radio, and has also loved narrating many documentaries on the History and Discovery Channels. Films include The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, John Maybury's Big Love, and Derek Jarman's The Last of England
CHRISTOPHER HURRELL has directed the world premiere productions of Whore by Rick Viede (Belvoir Street BSharp), the musical Las Vegas (Confidential) at the State Theatre, Men, Love and the Monkeyboy by Caleb Lewis at the Darlinghurst Theatre and Riverside Theatres in Parramatta, The Department Store by Justin Fleming (based on the novel Au Bonheur des Dames by Emile Zola) for Parnassus Den at the Old Fitzroy Theatre, Navigating Flinders by Don Reid at the Ensemble Theatre and Mr Bailey’s Minder by Debra Oswald for Griffin Theatre. In 2017 he directed the Australian musical The (M)other Life at the historic Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End.
Christopher recently submitted his thesis “Hear My Soul Speak: Finding Prospero in the Verbal Music of Shakespeare’s The Tempest” at Goldsmiths University of London. For his own company, Tangent Productions, Christopher has directed the Sydney premieres of Tony Kushner’s epic Homebody/Kabul at Belvoir Street BSharp Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America by Stephen Sewell at the SBW Stables. His re-interpretation of Marlowe’s Edward II was presented at the Adelaide Fringe and of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (presented as The Nightmare) and Macbeth at the Darlinghurst Theatre.
RUSSELL HARCOURT studied voice with Graham Pushee and graduated with a Bachelor of Music from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2007 and an MA Dip. RAM in Opera Performance from the Royal Academy of Music in 2010.
Russell is an Associate of the Jette Parker Young Artist’s Programme, Royal Opera House Covent Garden. He studied part-time at the National Opera Studio in 2010/11 and he is an alumnus of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme. He has performed in master classes for Emma Kirkby, Michael Chance, Andreas Scholl and Rosalind Plowright. Russell currently studies with Yvonne Kenny.
Russell made his operatic début in 2007 as Oberon A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Western AustralianAcademy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). He made his Australian concert début in 2009 as a guest artist at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and made his Royal Opera début in the title role of Handel’s Oreste.
Roles include Athamas Semele under Sir Charles Mackerras, Volano Il Giasone under Jane Glover, Fox/Coachman (cover) The Adventures of Pinocchio Opera North, Armindo (cover) Partenope Opera Australia (Sydney & Melbourne seasons), Zelim (cover) La verità in cimento, Licida (cover) L’Olimpiade both for Garsington Opera, Corrado Griselda Pinchgut Opera, under Erin Helyard, Narciso Agrippina and tile role Jason and a concert tour of works by Vivaldi, all for English Touring Opera, Pisandro The Return of Ulysses for Iford Arts Festival under Christian Curnyn, Hunahpù (cover) in Peter Sellars’ Indian Queen at English National Opera, Andronico Bajazet for Pinchgut Opera under Erin Helyard, Nerone in Handel’s Agrippina with Brisbane Baroque under Erin Helyard, David (cover) Saul for Glyndebourne Tour. Oratorio experience includes alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Judas Maccabaeus, Israel in Egypt, J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Weihnacht’s Oratorium, Mass in B minor, Schnittke’s Faust Cantata and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms.
Recent engagements include, Countertenor 1 in John Adams’ and Peters Sellars’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary for Theater Bonn, Rosencrantz (cover) in Brett Dean’s Hamlet for the Glyndebourne Festival and on Tour. In 2018 he will appear as Sesto in Giulio Cesare for Bury Court Opera Megabise in Hasse's Artaserse.
BEN GLOVER is a 26 year old graduate of Goldsmiths and UAL where he studied Creative Computing and an MA in Digital Theatre. He has pursued his interest in multimedia design using the latest cutting edge technologies to create new and exciting visual experiences including the use of virtual reality.
Recent projects included design and projections for Pukkelpop Festival (Belgium 2016); Working with UVA contributing to tours by Massive Attack and James Blake; Second Space a unique dance piece for UAL and most recently a virtual reality installation shown at Latitude, End of the Road and other festivals in 2017 bringing the experiences of Deaf and hard of hearing people to a hearing world.
In between other digital commissions for web development and collaborating with Mata Coco.
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